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Know your customer, recommends FT's Stephen Pinches

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Know your customer, recommends FT's Stephen Pinches

Within six weeks of Apple’s demand that publishers offer the same subscription deals through iTunes as they do on their own site, the FT rebuilt its native app as a web app. “It has all the things you would expect from a native app,” Pinches said, but “it allows us to enact whatever business model we choose.”

“We believe that data is fundamental to build our model,” he said, and gave personalized content as an example of how to strengthen relations with readers and offer a better service. “If you are a CEO of a media company we can tell you what other CEOs at media companies are reading.”

For Android devices, the FT took the HTML5 web app and “wrapped it in a little code” to put in the Google store. The paper has already launched a Windows 8 app too.

Only one journalist at the FT is responsible for mobile and tablet production. The paper has a rolling team of 6-8 developers, and several more testers.

Thirty per cent of the FT’s digital page views now come from mobile devices, as do 15% of all new digital consumer subscriptions. Mobile is a crucial part of the paper’s business, but Pinches does not recommend having a “mobile strategy,” rather a “strategy, with mobile in it.”

“We need to get to a point where I don’t have a job,” Pinches said. “I hope that in 2-3 years’ time the job ‘head of mobile’ will not really exist.” The boundaries between devices are changing fast, he said, pointing out that already Windows 8 devices are a mix between a mobile and a desktop platform. “I hope that at one point we will just be talking about screens – small, medium and large,” he said.


Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman


2012-10-30 16:38

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