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Premium emerging markets coverage from FT Tilt
Wednesday, 19th January 2011
Tim Buckley Owen
FT Tilt – the emerging markets service just launched by the Financial Times – enjoys the credibility of one of the strongest business information brands on the planet. But it’s entering an increasingly crowded field – so will it add enough collateral value to thrive?
FT Tilt promises a ‘lively’ style, somewhat removed from the more measured tones of its parent publication – not surprisingly, really, since it’s run by the same team that launched the FT’s award winning Alphaville financial blog (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/). It also has a strong community element in its complimentary Tilt Populi channel, inviting (pre-vetted) contributors to write their own posts and even offering advice on how to make them effective (http://digbig.com/5bdfnb).
Underpinning it all, though, is the authority and expertise of its professional journalists. Its Tilt Pro channel is subscription-based and ‘something you might want to get your employer to fund’, as its Welcome page archly suggests (http://digbig.com/5bdfna).
Other information services may have got to the emerging markets first (try http://www.vivavip.com/go/e28873 or http://www.vivavip.com/go/e31626 for LiveWire coverage of some of them) but, as FT Tilt’s editor in chief Paul Murphy told paidContent:UK, western media are still fixated on London and New York while much larger deals in India or Dubai get scant coverage (http://digbig.com/5bdfnc). So with journalists strategically placed around the world, there seems to be plenty more territory to conquer.
And while other newspapers are struggling with monetising their electronic content, the FT just seems to go from strength to strength. Paying subscribers for its digital services have just broken through the 200,000 barrier, with numbers up over 70% in a year (http://digbig.com/5bdfnd), while its iPad app has been downloaded approaching half a million times (http://digbig.com/5bdfne).
So what could go wrong? Tilt claims an ‘enhanced search and filtering system’ that allows users to produce and save their own specialist searches. ‘You'll find it’s very much like modern online retailing sites, which is where we borrowed the idea from,’ the Welcome page says; maybe, but the example offered just looks like good ol’ Boolean-based field searching to me.
Still to come is FT Tempo, a feature where journalists will add a sentiment score to each story and invite Tilt members to contribute their own alternative scores. At least it’s being done by warm bodied analysts; the last time the FT ventured into this territory it was with the semantic algorithm-based Newssift, which closed quietly last March, barely a year after launch (http://www.vivavip.com/go/e28229).
So the jury may well be out for a while on FT Tilt. With the cream of journalistic talent to draw upon and a punchy blogging approach it looks like a market beater – but whether users will stomach the premium prices it intends to charge remains to be seen.
By Tim Buckley Owen
Tim is an information skills trainer and writer on the information industry with over 40 years' experience in the profession. His career has encompassed information management, writing, editing, training, government policy advice and corporate media & marketing.
Besides writing for FreePint, Tim runs courses for training providers and private clients on enquiry handling, abstracting & summarising, information packaging & presentation and information management. The sixth edition of his classic handbook Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time is published by Facet Publishing. You can find details of Tim's training services at www.buckleyowen.com.
Tim can also be reached at email@example.com
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