The Financial Times has reached a paying readership of 1m in a new record for the newsbrand that it says has come a year ahead of schedule and on the back of a “strong business performance”.
The FT first introduced a paywall in 2002, moving to a metered access model five years later, which offered some content for free to registered users, before introducing its current model in 2015, which offers readers a four-week trial at £1 before asking them to subscribe.
Digital subscriptions now account for more than three-quarters of the FT’s circulation, it has said, but the print newspaper “continues to be profitable”.
Some 70 per cent of FT readers are outside the UK, the newsbrand revealed.
In a note to staff on reaching the 1m milestone, FT chief executive John Ridding said: “We have reached this record by developing a winning strategy, shared and supported by our owners Nikkei, who themselves now count more than 650,000 digital subscribers.
“By pioneering a subscription model and investing in digital transformation, we have proved that quality journalism can be a quality, growth business.
“We have also shown the enduring value of independent, authoritative and reliable reporting and analysis in a time of fake news, sensationalism and polarisation in media.”
In a tweet, FT editor Lionel Barber also tweeted his congratulations to his “brilliant journalist colleagues” on the achievement.
BREAKING news: it’s official. The Financial Times has passed the milestone of 1m readers – one year ahead of schedule. Congratulations and thanks to my brilliant journalist colleagues #pink #champagne pic.twitter.com/nXrcMMvkZB
— Lionel Barber (@lionelbarber) April 1, 2019
Management account figures shared with staff on Friday are said to have shown the FT Group recorded operating revenues totalling £383m last year and operating profits of £25m.
It returns to its historic home at Bracken House in the City of London this month, from its current base at One Southwark Bridge. The publication has said 2019 is a “landmark year” in its 131-year history.