The Financial Times has launched an app for the digital edition of its print newspaper, saying it will help to meet a global demand for a curated news experience
The new app was described as an “integral part of our print strategy for the near future” and a “sustainable evolution” of the flagship print newspaper.
The FT’s original e-paper was launched as a desktop product in 2015 but was only available on e-readers – Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. In 2020, it was revamped as a standalone subscription to meet growing demand, especially outside the UK.
Now the new FT Digital Edition app, available on both Android and iOS, is included in the title’s print and premium digital subscriptions. The all-access digital subscription costs £55 per month while the print plus premium digital offering is £189 per three months.
According to ABC, the FT digital edition, comprising FT premium subscribers, Amazon subscribers and FT e-paper subscribers, had an average circulation of 16,343 in August – of which 81% was outside the UK. The FT’s overall average print circulation was 104,423 of which half was non-UK.
Nicola Halstead, director of print subscriptions and digital editions, told Press Gazette the popularity of e-papers has grown “through the pandemic and beyond”.
“The FT has a global audience that we cannot service with print everywhere,” she said. “Releasing a digital edition allows the FT to provide the daily paper plus FT Weekend to customers across every region.”
The publisher said FT Digital Edition subscriptions have almost doubled since 2019 and grown by 88% in the US.
FT digital edition meets desire for ‘sense of completion’
Despite concerns of the decline in print, Halstead said readers still like the curated, finishable newspaper format: “Our research has shown that we have an audience that enjoys a curated reading experience that arrives daily and provides the news of the day in a familiar format.
“Print is an integral element of the FT portfolio of products and its future is supported by the FT management board and our owners, Nikkei. The app version of the FT Digital Edition allows us to extend our full print offering in a sustainable and accessible way no matter where our readers are.”
The FT also said the new offering would be more sustainable than if it tried to reach more global consumers with the print product.
Halstead told Press Gazette: “The FT Digital Edition makes our newspaper content accessible in locations like South America and Australia where print is difficult to serve and comes with a significant carbon footprint. The Digital Edition also comes with a robust translation tool as part of the offering, which makes it an ideal product for regions where English is not the first language.”
Other new features in the app include a text-to-speech option to listen to the stories, different views including a text view that is more visually like the FT website, an archive of past issues going back ten years, and offline reading.
Five regional editions are available, plus FT Weekend and the HTSI (formerly How To Spend It) supplement, and it makes the FT Weekend Magazine available on a weekly basis to readers outside the UK for the first time.
In March 2022 the publisher created FT Edit, which offers readers just eight articles a day curated by editors. It hoped to reach more young audiences who may be reluctant to pay for a full-price FT subscription.
FT Edit, which is only available through the Apple app store, was named best news media app at Press Gazette’s Future of Media Awards this month, praised for being a “great idea thoughtfully executed which is reaching news audiences, driving subscriptions and building awareness of this brand’s excellent journalism”.
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