FT Digital Subscriptions Have Grown Through Apple Fall-Out

The Financial Times’ digital subscriber base grew by eight percent in the period during which it pulled its iOS app off iTunes Store, as our chart shows…

Digital subscriptions hit 250,000 by the end of September (up 30 percent in the last 12 months), while freely registered users grew by 40 percent, owner Pearson (NYSE: PSO) reported on Thursday.

The publisher stopped offering its iPad and iPhone apps for download on August 30 after failing to gain an agreement from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) which would have meant the FT could continue to process its own customers’ data and transactions.

This update therefore includes only one month of post-iTunes numbers. The majority of the gain was experienced since the FT’s previous update in July.

Now the FT is claiming 790,000 unique users have used the web-based app replica that has replaced the iOS apps. This has meant a fifth of FT web traffic now comes from the new web “app”, while 15 percent of new subscriptions come from mobile devices.

In other words, the Apple fall-out doesn’t appear to have hurt The Financial Times. Or, at least, the publisher has found some success in switching from apps to back to web in a mobile environment.

The FT’s strategy, which features standard digital pricing across devices, is to grant a few free monthly articles to free users whilst gathering data about them with which to promote full subscriptions.

In its interim nine-month earnings update, Pearson reported FT Group sales role by six percent since last year, saying: “Although macroeconomic uncertainty and volatility in financial markets contributed to tougher conditions for advertising in the third quarter, advertising revenues were broadly level after nine months.”

Total Pearson revenue so far this year is six percent up on 2010, with the strongest growth coming from its international and professional education divisions.