Freeing the Financial Times

futurethink financial timesThis week, the Financial Times announced a program that will allow college students to access all of the publication’s web content for free. How is the FT doing it? Facebook, of course. The news site launched an application within Facebook that provides university users with a PIN, which can then be redeemed for a gratis annual premium subscription. Students will be able to renew their subscriptions annually for the entire length of their college careers.

The whole Facebook spin on the subscription isn’t just a matter of cool-factor – by launching an application in Facebook, FT can verify that users are, in fact, university students. Some might recall that the New York Times offered free Times Select subscriptions to university students a few years ago (before the company killed Times Select and began giving all its content away for free on the Web). The problem with the Times’ system is that anyone with a .edu email address could avail of the discount – alumni and faculty included.

Though it’s likely that this FT/Facebook experiment will help the company attract new readers – it’s probably going to be tough to get people to cough up the ₤99 annual subscription fee once they’re out of school. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Learn more at Media Week.

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