How the FT will innovate this year

FT editor Lionel Barber knows the title must innovate to survive. In an email to staff in January he said: “Our common cause is to secure the FT’s future in an increasingly competitive market, where old titles are being routinely disrupted by new entrants such as Google, LinkedIn and Twitter.

“The FT’s brand of accurate, authoritative journalism can thrive, but only if it adapts to the demands of our readers in digital and print, which is still a vital source of advertising revenues.”

The FT has a number of innovations in place to tackle and stay ahead of this. Its web app was launched in 2011 for iPad and iPhone, enabling it to access valuable data on how subscribers are behaving.

Jocelyn Cripps, executive vice-president of global B2C marketing, says that video is one of the FT’s single biggest opportunities in terms of online advertising and her team has been looking at how it can optimise its YouTube channel, talking to producers about how it can tag and analyse the content.

She is also talking to researchers and consultants about how to move people who love reading the print edition to read it via digital platforms. “We have many customers who already consume print, mobile and tablet at different points throughout the day. But on the other hand there are some customers who are really print-entrenched. We need to understand what their motivations are and how to plan the customer experience to show them the benefits and the interactivity and tools online,” says Cripps.

Barber has also announced that ‘Fast FT’ will launch later this year. It will offer short and sharp takes on market developments and breaking news.

Mobile is another important channel. Cripps says: “We are looking at product development and how we’re going to leverage mobile in terms of our digital subscriptions.”

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