Last month, Financial Times apps were removed from the App Store as it refused to get buckled down by Apple’s In-App Subscription policy.
Since all In-App Subscriptions go through Apple, it meant that publishers wouldn’t get all the information about subscribers such as demographic information used by magazines and newspapers to sell advertising. This pinched FT more than Apple’s 30 percent cut, since they claim their subscription model centers around owning data about its readers.
So FT decided to launch a HTML5 web app and has been promoting it to new users from July. Financial Times claims that the mobile web app has been more popular than the iOS apps and is already used by 700,000 users.
FT.com Managing Director Rob Grimshaw told Reuters that the new Web-based app was drawing more traffic than the version that was sold through the App Store.
“People who are using the app are spending much more time with the content,” he said. “They are consuming about three times as many pages through the app as they are through the desktop in an average visit.”
The FT’s Web-based mobile app accounts for 15 percent of FT.com subscriptions and 20 percent of total FT.com page views from mobile users, Grimshaw said.
FT also claims that it has not been difficult to drive users to the web app:
A simple message on the top of the FT’s Web site has been an effective marketing tool, he added. “The world outside the App Store is not cold and desperate. Discovery is no problem at all.”
We’ve already seen companies like Amazon follow FT’s footsteps, it will be interesting to see if there are more defections. Unfortunately, we don’t think it is good news for users as in our opinion native iOS apps provide much better user experience.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.