Change is coming in FT.com’s business model. The site will on Monday announce it will allow consumers to read articles or data up to 30 times a month for free, from mid-October. FT.com currently charges £98.99 a year ($110 in the US) or £8.25 a month ($9.20 to the US) for access to full material, teasing with access to many full or partial stories. It had only been a matter of time before the Financial Times follows The New York Times (NYSE: NYT), which this month closed its TimesSelect premium product, and the Wall Street Journal, from which new owner Rupert Murdoch appears ready to drop the pay wall; the FT.com own article on the topic frames its decision in that context. FT.com has 101,000 paid online subscribers.
With this model, FT.com is not going the whole hog. The aim is to open up FT.com content to be consumed and linked to by more casual readers while retaining the subscription wall for heavy users. Quoted on FT.com itself, the site’s publisher Ien Cheng: