Video: How data, content and advertising put the FT deeper into customer workflow
Oct. 3, 2012 -- The theme of ABM’s upcoming Executive Forum is “Drive Recurring Revenue” and few media brands have had more success emphasizing recurring revenue over advertising than Financial Times. In the first half of 2012, digital and services accounted for 50 percent of FT Group revenues and content revenues accounted for 61 percent. Digital subscription revenue is now greater than print subscription revenue, and the company predicts revenues from digital and services to exceed the traditional publishing businesses in 2012.
Andrew Sollinger, general manager of the Americas for Financial Times, will be speaking on a panel at ABM’s Executive Forum debating the value of business information versus advertising. As Sollinger explains in this video interview with ABM, the real value of data and business information for the FT isn’t as a sellable product, but the potential to embed the FT’s brands and products deeper into both the end-user and advertiser workflow.
“We put a tremendous priority on data intelligence for our content and advertising revenue streams,” says Sollinger. “In this digital age, we have a tremendous amount of intelligence on our advertisers -- how campaigns are performing, of course but who is interacting with those campaigns. Also, since we can track content use by specific users and specific licenses, we are able to determine where we have strong audiences. Data intelligence is integral to the growth of both our advertising and content businesses.”
FT is able to track content users according to what they like, what they don’t like, time of day and the device they use. On the advertising side, FT has gone beyond basic impressions data by using a tool called Deep View that can tell advertisers who is receiving those impressions by industry, job title and geographic location.
Currently, the FT has 300,000 digital subscribers (600,000 print and digital subscribers) and five million registered users. “It makes sense today to build a business based on content revenues,” says Sollinger. “They are renewable, they generate great cash flow so you get revenue upfront and it’s more predictive than the ins and outs of the advertising cycle. More importantly, when you build a content-based, subscription-based business, you have a more powerful core of readers to sell against. That’s tremendous data on them to inform that advertising business.”
In addition to selling individual subscriptions, FT sells corporate licenses, which have driven a new wave of product development. “The decision to go direct-to-customers -- which was not made without a lot of discussion internally -- was critical to our success in the corporate licensing space,” says Sollinger. “It gave us an incredible ability to talk to customers, to understand what types of content they are interested in and get a good gauge on their workflow. It also enabled us to develop tools that are helpful to that audience. An example might be our annotation tools that go out to business education institutions. Business schools love that, and we’re developing similar tools for the business marketplace.”
Andrew Sollinger will be speaking at ABM’s Executive Forum on Oct. 23. For more information on the program and registration, click here.
By Matt Kinsman