‘Events and subscriptions will fortify the FT brand’

The Financial Times will remain robust by continuing to extend the brand into conferences and events and by increasing its focus on digital subscriptions, according to its global commercial director Ben Hughes.

Hughes spoke to Marketing Week after the unveiling of the FT’s full-year financial results this week, which beat analyst expectations.

The results show that the FT and FT.com were profitable and outperformed the market, despite double-digit revenue declines caused by tough market conditions for financial and corporate advertising.

Conference revenues are up 5% year on year and Hughes adds: “The conference and events business is going from strength to strength. At a time when print advertising is clearly on the wane we have to be looking for different revenue streams.”

Hughes says the FT has focused over the past three to fours years on adapting to the structural changes within the industry. Overall, FT content revenues increased by 15%, with a 43% rise in FT.com subscription revenues.

FT.com operates a pay-for-content model and in 2009 it increased online subscriptions by 15% to more than 126,000 together with 750 corporate licences.

Hughes says: “We believe that if you are charging for content in print, then there is no reason why you should not do that online.”

Ad revenues saw a double digit revenue decline. However, Hughes says: “I don’t think print is dead.”

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