FT digital subs pass 300,000, growing readership and revenue

Financial Times iPad

Most Financial Times readers are now digital subscribers, after another spurt in online subs pushed the publisher to 313,000 digital subscribers this September.

The 17 percent annual subs jump means FT Group has a combined print and digital circulation of over 600,000, its owner Pearson reported in a nine-month interim earnings update on Monday.

When the FT first started combining print and digital circulation in June 2010, it was 563,026.

FT Group revenue has grown seven percent over the last year. Pearson reported: “Advertising remains weak.” That observation has long under-pinned The Financial Times’ preference for paid content income.

For comparison, New York Times paid digital subscriptions, introduced in March 2011, grew 11 percent last quarter alone to hit 592,000.

Throw the book?

After Pearson announced it would hive book publisher Pearson off in to a JV with Bertelsmann’s Random House, what about that speculation that incoming Pearson CEO John Fallon could also sell off the FT?

Although Pearson is predominantly an education content company, those at the FT continue to say (as FT CEO John Ridding told paidContent in February) that the news publisher is getting only closer to those operations – for instance, by publishing books for the overseas education market and by setting its recently-acquired Assanka development house (now known as FT Labs) to work on Pearson education initiatives.

With Penguin, which publishes many of those books, now set to be run more at arm’s length, however, the configuration is certainly changing.

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