FT in big push for digital subscriptions

The Financial Times is to focus its 2011 marketing activity on converting registered users on its website into paying subscribers.

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The newspaper brand wants to convert those who register to view 10 free articles a month into premium subscribers with full access to the site’s content.

Director of brand and b2b marketing Caroline Halliwell says the paper is finalising creative for a TV, print and digital campaign looking to encourage its regular users – of which she says there are 2 million worldwide – to subscribe.

According to parent company Pearson’s results for 2010, which were released on Monday, Financial Times digital subscriptions were up 50% to 207,000 in 2010, which accounts for a third of all global paid-for circulation for the newspaper.

In the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures, the Financial Times was the only national newspaper to see print circulation drop in January. The FT’s circulation slipped by 1.81% to 383,067 month on month and is down 2.77% year on year.

However, Halliwell says the print ABCs are not representative of the FT’s overall readership and it has developed a new system called ADGA (Average Daily Global Audience) – as reported in Marketing Week last year – which reports a platform-neutral readership figure, due to be released in March.

The group is in talks with other publishers to adopt the ADGA model to report on readership.

Halliwell says: “Currently 1.9 million people every day access our content. Readership is not just about looking at print in isolation. There are no silos. All our products complement each other.”

Upcoming marketing campaigns will be multiplatform to represent this “channel agnostic” approach, says Halliwell, with mobile playing a major role in its marketing strategy.

Halliwell says another key focus of 2011 is to drive more brand engagement with developing markets, particularly in China, which was the subject of an editorial series titled ’China shapes the world’ in January. The series was supported by an integrated online, print and retail marketing campaign.

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