FT Weekend Festival
2018 Finalist

FT Weekend Festival

Financial Times Live

London, United Kingdom

Category Best Use of an Event to Build a News Brand

Overview of this campaign

The FT Weekend Festival was held to build on the success of the inaugural event in 2016, which attracted nearly 2000 festival goers. The aim for 2017 was to increase delegate numbers - showcasing high-profile speakers and incorporating more innovative formats - in order to broaden the demographic of people reading the FT and attending events, whilst increasing subscriptions for the newspaper.

The 2017 schedule included eight stages; Food & Drink, How To Spend It, House & Home, FT Money, Arts & Fashion, Books, Travel, FT Weekend stage, and included a Food Village, Exhibitor Marquee and sponsor stands, plus the new addition of a ‘Weekend Pod’ involving interactive sessions with FT journalists.

The event allowed FT readers to see and interact with their favourite journalists live, discussing important topics in a relatively intimate setting and the opportunity for non-FT readers to indulge in cultural and topical conversations with like-minded people.

The FT has a strategy of pushing towards a paid-for circulation of 1 million subscribers, and the Festival supported this by attracting new audiences. 45% of the audience at the inaugural 2016 event were non-FT Subscribers. For 2017 the audience reach was widened through marketing communications - broadening out from advertising in the FT paper, magazines and email databases to social media, guerilla activity and external publications. This non-subscriber number increased by 7% in 2017 as a result of this outreach.

In order to build stronger relationships internally, the Festival, led by the FT Live team and FT Weekend editors, brings together a number of key internal stakeholders, made up of content, editorial, marketing, social media and communications. The successful management of these has built foundations for further collaboration between FT Live and editorial to support the FT’s overall goals.

Results for this campaign

The FT Weekend Festival has had a positive impact on the business over the past year, with collaborative working across various departments of the FT, strengthening and creating new relationships which have a wider impact on FT Live events going forward.

  • A total of 3,123 tickets were registered for the event with a recorded 2,649 attending.

  • Paid for tickets were +40% YOY with a increase of +132% on ticket revenue.

  • Registrations +24% YOY with an overall attendance increase of +37%

  • This campaign was the most impactful social media campaign led by FT Live with 3971 posts across all networks with 250+ contributors resulting in 147,934,603 impressions.

  • #FTWeekendFestival trended on twitter in the UK on the day

  • The website had 55,657 unique views (vs 22851 in 2016) over the 6 month campaign driving brand awareness and ticket sales

  • 18% of attendees (468 people) completed the post event survey.  Over 58% of attendees would recommend the Festival to a colleague or friend, with an overall score NPS of 46, equivalent to 2016, and higher than the average FT NPS score.

  • Qualitative feedback indicated that readers were truly excited to meet their favourite writers and editors in person and be entertained by them on their subjects of expertise

  • Core feedback from the inaugural Festival was vital to the success of the second year with improvements made in:

    • The number of food options available

    • An increase of complimentary minibuses to transport festival-goers between local tube stations and the Festival site

    • Collaboration with English Heritage to open their onsite cafe early

  • 29 annual subscriptions acquired at event and a substantial uplift in 4 week subscription trials.

  • Subscriptions to FT Weekend are up 6% year-on-year, while bundled subscriptions that include the weekend product with the Monday to Friday editions are up 13% year-on-year.


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