Equinox Consulting

It rocks – Financial Times’ renewal thanks to digital

Jean Bouvier at 2015-08-10 in Ca décape / ça dérape

Thanks to Big Data and its very detailed usage analyses, the Financial Times has converted 70% of its 720,000 subscribers to digital, out of which 50% access content via social networks and mobile. A remarkable example of digital operational excellence for this startup company founded in 1888!

Abandoning the business model implemented in 2008, based on a free online article counter, the Financial Times has decided to start charging users based on subscriptions at 6 or 9 Euros per week, after a trial period of one month at 1 Euro.

This prospect onboarding mechanism consists in attracting them with unlimited access to content and storage of content at a very small price. Financial Times has set a goal of 1 million subscribers and an online conversion rate of 30%, with a high probability of success: in one year, the newspaper has won over +21% of readers to digital format (504,000 subscribers) out of a total of 720,000 subscribers. And 50% of online readers access from social networks and mobile.

FT1Source : Screenshot of Financial Times’ website

To achieve this digital excellence, the FT has invested heavily in its Big Data capabilities. 30 data scientists analyze customer paths methodically to gain some insight.

In practical terms, it consists in:

  • Determining the reading preference patterns of subscribers: weekly login frequency, click path to the FT site, type of content viewed, reading depth and duration, behaviour related to content sharing with social networks,
  • Developing hyper-targeted content offerings, allowing to, for instance, eventually bill the reader based on the time spent on FT
  • And deducing from them the best ad impression strategies through push promotions and retargeting,
  • To, finally, monetizing customer knowledge with advertisers, e.g. with cost-per-hour (CPH) advertising offers.

FT2Screenshot of the Financial Times website

Plus :

  • 8 Lessons from the Financial Times digital success link
  • Digital transformation in action at the Financial Times link


Jean Bouvier   Jean


Digital, Retail banking & SFS

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