FT.com’s price hike

By Felix Salmon
February 9, 2010
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.


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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.

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