‘FT’ Paid Subscriptions Up 9% in 2008, Still Firing People: Wha?

The iconic pink paper is actually making money(!) from paid subscriptions, according to an earnings statement from Financial Times‘ owner.

According to Pearson, which owns and operates Financial Times, FT.com, and The Economist, online subscriptions, which cost between $178 and $400 a year, grew to 109,609 in 2008, five times more than the rise in non-paying registrations.

However, there are nine times more non-paying registrations: 966,000, according to the report. Non-paying, registered users can access only 30 articles per month.

Meanwhile, FT Group profits rose 13% to £195 million ($277 million), and the company expects “strong renewal rates in our subscription business” for 2009.

Is this a pay-wall success story? It doesn’t spell R-E-L-I-E-F for journalists hanging onto their jobs just yet. For one thing, FT‘s market demographic is much different than the demographic of a daily paper; FT‘s readers are probably willing to pay for this vital-to-them information because they can’t get it anywhere else.

And even with profits like these, CEO John Ridding is laying off 80 people—20 from the newsroom.