Opinion

Felix Salmon

FT.com’s price hike

By Felix Salmon
February 9, 2010

What’s happened to the FT’s online subscription rates? Leigh Caldwell was paying £6.12 per month last December, but then his debit card expired, he lost his FT.com access, and he went back to the site to renew. When he got there, he found that the renewal rate he was offered was more than double what he was paying before: £12.98 per month, for “premium” access.

Since Leigh doesn’t need premium access, he tried to see how much a regular non-premium subscription would cost — and found that it was even more, at £17.50 per month. And the rack rate for the premium online subscription is now £25.99 per month — that’s over $40 a month, or $486 a year. That’s a very large sum to spend on a website subscription.

Given that there doesn’t seem to be a cheaper option, Leigh’s going for the £12.98 deal, at least for the time being; it does at least have the advantage of being only half what other people are being charged. At $20 per month, it’s not an excessive price for a business product. But it does seem as though the FT is orchestrating things so that as many subscribers as possible end up getting the “premium” product — which nominally costs more, but doesn’t always do so in reality. That’s a great way of making people think that they’re getting something really valuable by having access to the Lex column, without depriving Lex of the readers it wants and needs.

Comments
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The Kindle sub price is going up too. This appeared in my inbox a couple days ago:

As a Kindle subscriber to the The Financial Times, you might like to know of a price change. ffective February 6th, 2010 the price of The Financial Times has changed to $14.99/month for new subscribers.

As an existing subscriber to The Financial Times you will continue to be billed at the previous rate of $9.99/month for one more year (until February 6th, 2011) after which you will be billed at the monthly rate then in effect.

Posted by gstern | Report as abusive
 

I think you could probably maintain a separate blog about the bizarre behavior of the FT’s online policies. Last year they put on a promotion for university students that allowed me a year’s worth of premium online content in exchange for becoming a “fan” of FT on facebook. Of course, when the year’s worth of free content was up and I was faced with the prospect of shelling out around $100 per year on top of my $200 yearly print subscription, I decided to take my web-news needs elsewhere. I would be interested to see how many print subscribers actually pay the additional fee for the online subscription.

Posted by KTodd | Report as abusive
 

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