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Interview: Rob Grimshaw, Publisher Of FT.com: Newspapers Must Add Paid Content

It’s impossible to fund an online content business through ads alone, and the return of paidcontent could benefit the whole industry, according to FT.com publisher Rob Grimshaw. Despite now giving just 10 free articles a month outside its £99-a-year pay wall, FT.com is growing by up to 15,000 free registrations a week and has reached 1.3 million non-paying registrants, 110,000 paying subscribers and a publishing business that’s two-thirds digital.

With publishers including News Corp and Guardian Media Group now contemplating paidcontent strategies, Grimshaw told paidContent:UK: “News Corp (NYSE: NWS) are a huge media organization — I’d be surprised if they couldn’t produce some great content that people would want to pay for.The more publishers that go down this route the better, as far as I’m concerned.

“We’ve done the sums — it’s really difficult to see how an advertising-only business can stack up unless you’ve got enormous volume. If you start doing some simple math on this thing, it becomes clear what a challenge it is. If you’re aiming to make $50 million a year from your online advertising business, which is not massive, you’re going to need 833 million page impressions per month at CPMs of $5 a time. If they drop to a dollar, you need 4.1 billion. There are hardly any websites that have anywhere near that volume and few can aspire to it. You’re going to need some other way to make money other than adverts.” Full full interview, go to our sister site paidContent:UK.