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FT.com breaks 500,000 registered user barrier

LONDON - FT.com has broken through the 500,000 registered user barrier following its decision to open up the site, offering more free access to users.

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At the same time, the Financial Times website has boosted digital revenues through a new corporate content licensing strategy, which has enabled FT.com to secure direct agreements with 350 corporate customers.

FT.com said it had added more than 12,000 users a week since the launch of its new access model in October 2007. The site began offering free access to single pages when accessed through 31 partner websites, including Google News, as part of its move away from a subscription-only site.

From today, users of partner websites will always get free access to the FT.com page they are linked to; FT.com dubbed this "first click free".

It follows the FT's decision to change from its subscription-only model to allow users to access 30 pages for free each month. It also coincided with the offering of free access to students via a Facebook application.

Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, said: "These figures show just how much of a success this new access model has been.

"Not only are registered users increasing on a yearly basis, but page views are 63% higher than this time last year and unique users are 18% higher year on year.

"It is testament to the high-quality content available on FT.com."

The corporate content licensing strategy offers customers unlimited access to Financial Times content for multiple users across a variety of platforms -- both FT.com and third party news aggregation services.

John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times, said: "By creating a direct relationship with clients we are learning how they derive value from Financial Times content and as a consequence we are granting wider usage and distribution rights.

"We have designed the license to be platform neutral to give our customers the flexibility of accessing our journalism through whichever technology solutions are most suited to the way they work."

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