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‘FT’ Paid Subscriptions Up 9% in 2008, Still Firing People: Wha?

The iconic pink paper is actually making money(!) from paid subscriptions, according to an earnings statement from Financial Times‘ owner.
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According to Pearson, which owns and operates Financial Times, FT.com, and The Economist, online subscriptions, which cost between $178 and $400 a year, grew to 109,609 in 2008, five times more than the rise in non-paying registrations.

However, there are nine times more non-paying registrations: 966,000, according to the report. Non-paying, registered users can access only 30 articles per month.

Meanwhile, FT Group profits rose 13% to £195 million ($277 million), and the company expects “strong renewal rates in our subscription business” for 2009.

Is this a pay-wall success story? It doesn’t spell R-E-L-I-E-F for journalists hanging onto their jobs just yet. For one thing, FT‘s market demographic is much different than the demographic of a daily paper; FT‘s readers are probably willing to pay for this vital-to-them information because they can’t get it anywhere else.

And even with profits like these, CEO John Ridding is laying off 80 people—20 from the newsroom.


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