Has The FT Gone Too Far?

April 21, 2010

It is common knowledge that newspaper circulation numbers have a hit an all time low. The newspaper has been taken over by new media, such as television and the internet; we now even have access to breaking news on our phones. It seems like the newspaper is soon becoming a thing of the past.

I understand that the papers need to advertise on their websites, and I try to support them by buying newspapers when I can (after all, I am a student , and my closest shop is up a hill!), but has the Financial Times online gone too far?

After clicking onto their site FT.com I realised that I now need to register in order to read their articles.

If I did register for free, I could only read 10 articles every 30 days. If I paid £3.95 a week I would have full access to articles, however would still not have access to the Lex column, mobile news reader or the exclusive news letters from Lionel Barber. I then got a pop up appear on my screen which stated as I was a regular visitor to FT.com, I could ‘act now and pay just £2.19 per week (33% off the usual price of £3.29) for the up-to-the-minute news and analysis you need to thrive and succeed in today's fast-paced world’. For someone who read articles and the Lex column, this doesn’t help.

To get access to all columns I would need to buy a premium subscription which costs £5.95 a week, with 52 weeks in a year, that’s £309.40 a year! However there may be a plus for those FT fanatics, this package combined with newspaper delivery is £10.02 a year, so there are savings for the minority.

The FT have seen their traffic grow to 1.9 million users. Another reason for making readers register is so they can tailor adverts to each register user, and therefore make advertisers a promise that their advert will be looked at their specific target audience.

It looks like I’ll be buying the paper from now on, if I can be bothered to walk up the hill to the shop. It’s a shame the FT is now charging for their online services, I think they will loose their younger readers.

However, I wish them luck; the majority of their readers will be in a position to get their important financial news. I hope readers feel the FT’s quality is worth paying for, and that they don’t switch to a free financial news provider, such as efinacialnews.com or businessinsider.

Will other papers follow the trend? Is it a successful way of helping papers financially? –or is it a step too far? Time will only tell.

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