Financial Times trials subscriber-only podcasts in new audio strategy

The Financial Times is expanding its audio programming with a move into subscriber-only podcasts. The first show in this wave is The Rachman Review, which premiered earlier this month. The program is hosted by popular FT columnist Gideon Rachman.

The new plans will be helmed by Cheryl Brumley, who joins FT from The Economist as the publication’s first global head of audio. Part of her task will be to find a balance between ad-supported podcasts for a general audience and subscriber-only shows.

RenĂ©e Kaplan, head of audience and new content strategies for FT, told Digiday that the subscriber-only podcasts was a test. “We’re interested in doing this experiment to incorporate listening into our engagement model where we can measure the commercial value of listening in the same way we can measure the value of our subscribers’ reading,” she said.

FT has not shared any statistics for this subscription show yet, but it boasts an average listen-through rate of 75% and its audio ad revenue from podcasts has tripled in the past year.

Anna Washenko