The Financial Times will consolidate the multiple print editions it publishes each night into a single, global newspaper in the first half of 2014, using its website for breaking news as the publisher focuses on growth in digital products and perhaps sets the stage for eventual further reductions in print. The paper may also start arriving in a single section.
"The 1970s-style newspaper publishing process -- making incremental changes to multiple editions through the night -- is dead," Lionel Barber, the Financial Times's editor, said today in a memo to staff posted on its website. "In future, our print product will derive from the Web offering -- not vice versa."
The web staff will take the lead, Mr. Barber added:
In future, our print product will derive from the web offering -- not vice versa. The new FT will be produced by a small print-focused team working alongside a larger integrated web/day production team.
The new print edition will have minimal late-evening changes, meaning staff will go to work earlier in the day, and its content will shift away from breaking news to focus on analysis and "show pages" with data and graphics, according to the memo. Online stories will be published to correspond with peak viewing times, much like a broadcast schedule, and the website will be an aggregation of FT and third-party content.
Over at The Guardian, another U.K. newspaper betting heavily on international expansion via the web, media writer Roy Greenslade translated the change this way: "In effect, it means that the FT's paper will no longer be a 'news'paper. "
The move is part of a broader shift from print to digital across London-based Pearson to match customers' reading habits. CEO John Fallon introduced a companywide reorganization in May that increased spending to accelerate the push into digital services. The FT was first published in 1888. Its digital subscriptions now exceed those of its print edition by more than 100,000, according to the memo.
"The competitive pressures on our business to adapt to an environment where we are increasingly being read on the desktop, smartphone and tablet -- remain as strong as ever," Mr. Barber said. "The pace of change, driven by technology, is relentless."
~ Bloomberg News and Ad Age staff ~