The Financial Times is now making its content available through Flipboard, the popular reading platform that lets users draw on their social networks to assemble content from a variety of publications or create their own magazine.
The partnership, which comes a year after a similar deal between Flipboard and the New York Times, will grant full access to FT subscribers while casual visitors will be able to read a smattering of FT blog posts and cultural stories.
Rob Grimshaw, managing director of the FT.com, said by phone that the deal will involve the FT and Flipboard sharing advertising revenue, but would not disclose what the exact revenue split is. In the past, the ad splits have been a source of contention for some publishers, including Condé Nast, which pulled back its advertisements from titles like New Yorker and Wired. (A Flipboard spokesperson said the company has an “excellent relationship” with Conde and is partnering on ads for six other titles).
Grimshaw also said that the FT is exploring selling subscriptions through Flipboard, and would be willing to share some of the proceeds with the platform. This is significant because the FT made waves by leaving iTunes in part due to the 30 percent commission (or “vig,” as the Brits call it) that Apple takes from every publisher.
So why is the FT willing to partner up with Flipboard so soon after leaving Apple? Grimshaw says the difference lies in how the two platforms treat customer relationships.
“The issue is not so much a percentage, it’s the relationship between publisher and audience. Paying a 30 percent finder’s fee is okay. Paying 30 percent in perpetuity and not knowing who the customer is not okay.”
The Flipboard partnership also reflects the fact that the FT and other publishers are keen to get their stories in as many places as possible at a time when readers are consuming more and more content on mobile. As for the future role of Flipboard, which some describe as a “giant iceberg” in the way of publishers, Grimshaw had this to say:
“I think the really interesting aspect to the platform is the way they’re giving readers the ability to create a bespoke user experience. I personally think this is going to be a strong strand in publishing and consumption of news in the digital space.”
Correction: This article was updated at 2:40pm to state that Conde Nast titles had pulled ads from certain titles; Conde did not, as previously stated, break off the relationship.