Data Sheet—Why It Makes Sense To Charge for Online News

I have more than a passing interest in legacy brands defending their turfs against digital upstarts. With that in mind, I met last week in San Francisco with John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times Group, publisher of the storied British newspaper that's now owned by the Japanese financial news organization Nikkei.

Ridding has presided over a daring and successful turnaround at the FT. It was the first big paper to institute a paywall, in 2002, though Ridding doesn't like the word. "I always objected to that term," he says, fit and casual in the lounge of an upscale San Francisco hotel. "When you buy a car you don't run into paywall."

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