FT.com’s subscription sales team is now mining the site’s traffic logs to target companies whose staff visit its free stories most often. Profiling firm Trovus has been hired for the task, hoping to add to FT.com’s 600 corporate subscriptions.
Trovus is monitoring the IP address of frequent readers to find out where they work — then that data tells the FT’s sales team whom to target. Companies get discounted rates as well as bespoke data feeds. Trovus co-founder Edward Charvet spent three years at the FT as a researcher.
This shows there’s more to paid content business models than simply asking customers for cash. While the debate on why and how newspapers can charge for online content rages on — helped in no small part by the FT’s keenness for everyone to talk about it — the question remains of whether general interest titles, which lack a specialist audience to target, can convince readers to charge. FT editor Lionel Barber and the paper’s other execs are convinced they can, but for them to to build a similar B2B element into their models seems all but impossible.