Let’s consider FT’s quality value based on truth, transparency, and trust…

The MediaBriefing recently wrote an article discussing the Financial Times’ approach to quality for their sustainable future. Their focus points surround the ‘triple t threat’ – truth, transparency, and trust. In an era when digital revenue is hard to come by, publishers are trying all sorts of tricks and trends. One can only marvel at those publishers who are strides ahead of the rest. Let’s have a look at some of The Financial Times staggering impressions:

  • Shortlisted for Media Company of the Year at the British Media Awards
  • 650,000 digital subscribers
  • Digital revenue that has OVERTAKEN print
  • Content is paying for itself and not through advertising

Of course, these results didn’t fall on their lap. In fact, there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears as suggested by Jon Slade, FT’s Chief Commercial Officer;

“It hasn’t happened overnight. Our mission at the Financial Times is to ensure that we are creating a business model that allows a sustainable future for quality journalism: it’s tattooed on everyone’s eyelids!” 

What a descriptive ethos. Once again the ethics of business are getting more tightly interwoven in the industry of journalism. In order for revenue to be sustainable, quality needs to be maintained and a model adopted. The way forward is through the loyalty of paying readers across the platforms that can reach them.

Quality journalism

The investment in quality drives a successful business model forward in a cut throat industry. ‘Quality’ suggests no ‘fake news’, no mass recycled content, and no low-quality advertising.

Fake news caused the quality of journalism to take a massive step backward. Misinformation leaked in amongst current news stories grew distrust in media. Priding themselves as a “global news organisation“, FT considered themselves well-equipped for the increase in traffic and effect. The collaborative team effort from various departments within FT are the legs that keep their quality journalism clearing the hurdles:

“To see all those different departments join up and work together at a professional level, we are very proud of how we as a company responded right through the line to those big events.” – Slade

Quality motto

No success happens without a key focus to keep coming back to. So what is it the adage that FT hold highly?

“Slade attributes this to the FT’s core motto of ‘truth, trust and transparency, without fear and without favour’.” MediaBriefing

It is of utmost importance to uphold the standard of journalism and the business involved. Especially when the rest of the world is swimming in misinformation. In addition, FT values their relationship with their audience. FT’s very existence is a result of audience loyalty. With the additional challenge of duopolies and branded advertising, Slade comments:

“But the core of our business is cultivating that direct relationship with our audience, regardless of the format and despite the many intermediaries who try and intervene in that process, from every advertising technology company to Facebook and Google and everything in between.” Slade

Most of all, it will always be about the relationship with the audience and giving them what they pay for. Additionally, the focus is not on trying to be inventive or experimental, but rather to stick to the mantra of quality, relationship and trust.


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