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FT Closing Its Tilt News Site On Missed Revenue Targets

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The Financial Times is closing Tilt, its experimental pure-play online news service for emerging-markets finance professionals, 10 months after launch.

“I can confirm that the FT proposes to close FT Tilt at the end of October,” a spokesperson confirmed to paidContent.

“While the FT is keen to support new innovations and will continue to do so, Tilt’s revenues were not where we hoped they would be and we have to make a hard headed business decision on its future.”

The FT launched Tilt in January with 12 staff, led by managing director Tom Brammar and editor-in-chief Paul Murphy. Their future is not clear.

The idea was to translate some of Murphy’s experience running’s successful Alphaville blog and live finance chat service to a new product – a high-end, online-only subscription news and analysis service that deep dives for an audience of fund managers and such like in emerging markets.

Tilt had been billed as a “startup”, a much more flexible and conversational operation than the core Financial Times news operation, and had been run at arm’s length from the FT’s London HQ, in New York. It had invited members to contribute their own analysis after proving their own elite status and relevance to the community.

Subscription fees were never disclosed. That’s a sign that they were high, just like premium B2B media publishers.

Tilt editor and former Alphaville reporter Stacy-Marie Ishmael, announced the closure on Tilt and wrote on her blog, hailing her team for “building a site, a service, a brand, a reputation and an audience from scratch, from nothing, from zero”…

“I am proud of the body of work you have produced. And I am prouder yet of how you have come together as a team – the dynamic you have shared over these months, and almost entirely virtually.

“You have challenged and supported each other over thousands of miles and myriad time zones. You have done tremendous work. You are an extraordinary team. Know that you have achieved great heights. And that none of you have yet reached your peak.

“Thank you for your wit, your hilarious Skype exchanges, your intelligence, your thoughtfulness, your loyalty to each other and to an idea that became FT Tilt.”


2 Responses to “FT Closing Its Tilt News Site On Missed Revenue Targets”

  1. They did a terrible job of marketing this. I entered my e-mail address on their site before FT Tilt even launched and waited to get information about the service. Even after it launched, they would send me a single link to one piece of news or analysis ever three or four weeks (“Argentina: Opportunity or Renewed Crisis” was the last one I received, on Aug. 4.) I don’t think I ever even saw the site, and in general was given the impression through these e-mails that they didn’t produce very much. That tells me they didn’t have a good plan to create a sales or conversion funnel. No free trials offered, no regular e-mails with links to everything they published, none of the basics one would expect for a new venture. They have experience in the online paid content business, but only with an established brand, not in launching a startup service. Not sure if better marketing would have made a difference, but it’s clear to me from this experience of my opting in and then their failing to market to me that they made some not insignificant mistakes.