Financial Times restructures online subscriptions

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The Financial Times is instituting a program for online readership in which viewers may read up to 30 articles per month before having to pay for content on FT.com.

Content is presently available only to subscribers, who pay $110 in the US and Ç120, or $170, in much of Europe for a one-year subscription to the site.

This move comes two weeks after The New York Times rescinded its subscription fee for access to its archives and its featured columnists. The Times made its online content available to all visitors in hopes that greater readership will engender ad revenue greater than the revenue from online subscriptions.

The restructuring of its subscriptions comes as part of what John Ridding, CEO of the London-based Financial Times, called a broad overhaul of FT.com. Other improvements to the site include a new markets section, new editorial features, columns and tools, a further expansion of video journalism, and upgrades to the design and performance of the site.

"We believe many FT.com users - drawn by these changes and the quality of our journalism - will become regular and dedicated FT users, and join the ranks of our existing subscribers," said Ridding in a statement.

In the past 12 months, FT.com's monthly unique users have grown by more than 70 percent to 6.5 million. Page views have risen by 50 percent to 43 million and online revenues have risen by 40 percent.

Financial Times competitor The Wall Street Journal, whose parent company Dow Jones was recently bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $5 billion, currently charges $79 for a Web subscription to http://www.wsj.com/.

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