Financial Times: “Our print product will derive from the web offering — not vice versa”

The Financial Times now has more digital subscribers than print subscribers, and in a memo to staff posted on the website Wednesday editor Lionel Barber outlined the paper’s next steps in its digital-first strategy. Among the changes in store:

  • As the paper continues to shift resources to its website, it will produce just one “global print product” starting next year. Until now, it has had multiple editions for different countries. The print product may also have just one section and “our main design effort will focus on ‘show pages’ with accompanying rich data and graphics.”
  • Editors and reporters will be required to shift “from reactive news gathering to value-added ‘news in context,’ while remaining faithful to the pursuit of original, investigative journalism.” Sounds like the goal is to provide less generic news coverage and more analytic and long-form stories as a way to stand out.
  • Work will shift from night to day, when people are actually online reading. “[The] 1970s-style newspaper publishing process — making incremental changes to multiple editions through the night — is dead,” Barber wrote. “In future, our print product will derive from the web offering — not vice versa.” Journalists will “publish stories to meet peak viewing times on the web rather than old print deadlines.”
  • “will concentrate on smart aggregation of content from our own journalists and third parties.”

These changes make sense because, Barber noted, “we have more than 100,000 more digital subscriptions than print sales.” According to the most recent stat that the paper provides, it “has a combined paid print and digital circulation of more than 600,000,” suggesting it has around 400,000 digital subscribers.