Mediaguardian today carries the news that FT.com is to change the way it charges its web content, after a successful trial overseas. It's still offering a £99 a year subscription to see content hidden behind the "subscriber wall", but now also offering 5 free articles and then a "light" registration to see a further 30 articles a month.
Reading between the lines, it looks like the subscriber growth needed a kick-start, and a 2 stage process of subscriber acquisition through different access to content worked successfully abroad.
This comes 2 weeks after the NY Times dropped its subscription charges and moved to an advertising revenue model.
Will the FT abandon subscription in the future? They clearly state not - "(our) strategic belief is that our content is worth paying for, whatever the channel" "We are very confident that people are prepared to pay a reasonable price for FT journalism".
But with the Wall Street Journal in Rupert's hands, is this a pre-emptive reaction from FT.com before they wake up with tanks parked on the lawn? I'd suggest so - identify your premium audience by name right now, before the WSJ is properly woken up.
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