Stephen Pinches, Group Head Emerging Technologies at the Financial Times talks about their unique approach to mobile around HTML5 web apps.
He warns that one size does not fit all, and that the approach they took was very much aligned with their overall strategy, with a commercial imperative and a direct relationship with customers through their subscription model.
The goal – The pleasure of leisurely newspaper browsing with the immediacy and interactivity of a website
Their first iPad app was a native iOS app, and was very successful – with over 1m downloads, incremental subscriptions, and winning Apple’s Design Award.
But then Apple’s rules changed and took the FT by surprise. The main change was that the subscription billing had to go through Apple, severing the direct customer relationship. This also meant the FT couldn’t fulfil it’s promise to their users of having one subscription, one login.
Ultimately, this drove the FT to develop a new version of the app in HTML5. This actually increased their audience, even without any marketing and allowed them to quickly and easily roll out Android, Windows 8 and even Xbox Kinect versions.