The Financial Times turns 125, Where to Now: Embracing the Digital Age

Laura Thorburn  Follow


As the Financial Times celebrates its 125th birthday, it’s the perfect moment to consider where our media landscape is heading. Today, as the OSB (One Southwark Bridge) building along the banks of the Thames is lit up in pink and Lionel Barber writes his feature piece describing the FT as an “authoritative digital news organisation with global reach,” it’s fascinating to map the history of the FT and even more fascinating to look ahead to the future.

From its launch in 1884, the FT has gone from strength to strength: with the 1995 launch of; followed by the integration of print and online editorial operations in 1999/2000 (interestingly almost five years later); to 2012 when their digital subscribers surpassed the circulation of the newspaper, it has constantly evolved with the times.

More and more we see media moving to an online focus, and from Barber’s internal staff memo which was leaked earlier this year he outlines “we need to ensure that we are serving a digital platform first, and a newspaper second.”  What does this mean for the FT? The salmon pink pages are seen as a fashion accessory in the City, if not staple, yet the app suite the FT provides has a fantastic name for itself, despite the costliness. Will we still see bankers wandering the City with the FT stuffed in their briefcases or will the tablet app surpass print completely? It will be interesting to watch the age-old tradition of the FT advance with their digital offerings.

This move to the digital world is also highly apparent on the British high street and many who ignore it are destined to suffer. Music/media store HMV went into administration in January 2013* due to poor sales as more and more consumers use online services (i.e. iTunes) to buy their music/movies and less visit a physical shop to purchase hard copies (i.e. CDs and DVDs). When was the last time you purchased a ‘live’ CD or DVD? Times have changed, and continue to change, and we should all consider how the ever growing ‘digital age’ will become increasingly more prevalent in our day to day lives (especially with Prosek’s love of targeted pitching!).  

* Footnote: A quick snippet of how not to engage with the staff you are making redundant, when they are in charge of your corporate Twitter account... @HMVtweets (the tweets were swiftly deleted but we had the pleasure of watching this unfold live):

“We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!! #hmvXFactorFiring”

“Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?’”

Read more on the HMV Twitter debacle here.

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