Newspaper Success (!) in Scandinavia

While newspaper publishers in the US are moribund and seem threatened by the idea of digital -- fighting the battle between trying to be forward-thinking about digital that's only 5-8% of revenues, a Norwegian paper now gets more than 50 percent of its revenues from digital. My friend and Rebuilding Media editor Vin Crosbie pointed me to the World Association of Newspapers conference site where Birger Magnus, Executive Vice President, Schibsted, Norway, spoke about "operating profits from online activities hover around 50 percent for Norway-based Schibsted -- and rose to 53 percent in the first quarter of this year."

He talks about why:

"I think probably the most important part of explaining why we’ve been able to do this is we’ve been able to diversify," says Mr Magnus. "We foster a culture of risk taking. We have made many mistakes. But we’ve learned from our mistakes and moved on."

That's an entrepreneurial attitude, and one that perhaps could serve the US market well. 'Course, many more questions are raised: Is that 50% of a shrinking pie, what's the split among the forms of revenue, and so on. But it seems that digital does not have to be relegated to a lowly status.

1 comment:

Kristine Lowe said...

If you look at the split among forms of revenue it gets even more interesting. In Norway, two of Schibsted's biggest money makers are Finn.no, its online classifieds business, and VG online, the online operation of Norway's biggest tabloid (in 2005 VG online recorded a 43% profit margin compared to the paper version's 15%). A bit more about the reasons for VG's online success here:
http://kristinelowe.blogs.com/kristine_lowe/2007/02/the_online_magi.html