'Financial Times' Considers Acquisitions To Strengthen Digital Subscription Biz

The Financial Times is looking to acquire companies to “support and accelerate” its digital subscription business, with financial support from new owner Japan’s Nikkei Inc., CEO John Ridding told Bloombergthis week.

The London-based publisher is also interested in buying technology firms with data analytics capabilities to help target readers with advertising and subscription offers, he added. Ridding told Bloomberg the FT has “a number of opportunities in the acquisition zone on the radar,” but did not reveal which companies were involved.

Last year, Nikkei Inc. bought Financial Times for $1.3 billion. Since the acquisition, FT’s digital subscriber base has grown by 17%.

Ridding said the FT also received a 600% increase in online customers the weekend after the Brexit announcement. New subscriptions have been six times higher since the U.S. presidential election.

The Financial Times has 825,000 paid readers, 625,000 are digital subscribers. Ridding said the publication aims to reach 1 million in total by 2020.

Newspapers like the Financial Times are looking to offset declines in print advertising revenue by getting more readers to pay for content. Around 60% of FT’s revenue is now derived from subscriptions and 40% from advertising.

In October, the Financial Times’ site had a makeover, reducing its load times and optimizing for mobile in an effort to increase readership and its subscriber base.

This year, FT received more of its revenue from digital sources than print.
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