FT’s CEO Ridding Talks Paywalls and FT Tilt

The Guardian‘s Roy Gleenslade got an opportunity to talk to The Financial Times‘ CEO John Ridding about the company’s success with pay walls as well as gave a little more info about FT’s newest plan, FT Tilt.

Ridding was all smiles, following the release of the FT’s parent company Pearson’s second quarter release yesterday, which saw a 79 percent increase in first half profit, compared to 2009. First Ridding talked pay walls, and with success like the FT’s, it’s a surprise US publications have taken so long to implement the model.

“When we introduced subscriptions it was primarily to offset the uncertainty of print advertising revenues. It was something of an experiment, based on a mixture of intuition, assumptions, guesswork and research.

“It soon became clear that it was working. The quality of our earnings improved. The subscriptions model is a more predictable guide to income, allowing for better planning and investment.”

And it even helped the editing and marketing teams do a better job. “In editorial terms, it allows for a degree of engagment,” said Ridding. “On the marketing front, it is very powerful indeed. We can target much more efficiently, and it gives us ideas about product development.”

As for the FT’s newest plans, FT Tilt will also be a paid-for service. Focusing on emerging markets, the start-up will launch later this year.