FT hearts tablets so much, it’s spreading the joy among staff
It’s not hard to see why newspaper companies, saddled with plunging circulation and big iron presses , are so ecstatic over tablet devices. They bring a form of hope that hasn’t crossed this industry’s path since newspapers dominated classified advertising in the 1980s and 1990s making them fat with revenue and profits. Tablet computers, like Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, just might spark renewed interest in wilted newspapers among consumers and help ease the legacy costs of paper and ink.
Consider News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch who has often expressed his love for the iPad and is busy building a team to produce a tablet-only newspaper The Daily.
The Financial Times is just as enamored and is spreading the joy offering its employees a nice chunk of change to go toward the purchase of an iPad or other tablet.
Reuters European Technology, Media and Telecoms Correspondent Georgina Prodham reports FT staff can claim 300 pounds, 350 euros or $480 towards the cost of a tablet for their personal use — about two-thirds of the cost of the most basic iPad in Britain or Germany before tax, and almost covering the whole cost in the United States.
“The FT is making this investment because digital channels and tablet devices are becoming increasingly important for us and the media industry in general, and as a recognition of your contribution to our strong performance this year,” FT Chief Executive John Ridding wrote in an email to staff.
The FT Group, owned by British media and education group Pearson, increased its sales by 11 percent in the first 9 months of this year, boosted by revenues from the FT.com, whose subscriptions rose by 50 percent to more than 180,000.
The FT’s iPad app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its launch in May, and has driven about 10 percent of digital subscriptions. FT.com subscriptions cost between 198 and 285 pounds ($317 to $456) per year and are the envy of newspapers eveywhere as they scramble to come up with an online paywall strategy.
Let’s see if News Corp, the New York Times or, ahem Reuters, will follow suit with a similar employee plan.