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How Schibsted is growing online classifieds and reaching young news consumers

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World News Publishing Focus
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How Schibsted is growing online classifieds and reaching young news consumers

In September, Scandanavian publishing giant Schibsted announced it would split, with a separate listing of its international classified ads business. An initial public offering is expected next April, and head of editorial Torry Pedersen says he is optimistic about the future of the company

“Classifieds have always been the bread and butter for most (media) companies”, he said. “Our vision was it’s better to cannibalize yourself than to be eaten by someone else”, he said Thursday at at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Asia 2018 conference in Hong Kong.

From its humble beginnings as a small printing company founded over a decade ago, Schibsted has become a digital powerhouse that specializes in three key fields. Its online classifieds is one of them, with Pedersen saying it is the number one place Norwegians go to buy and sell online. It’s also a leading provider of independent journalism within Norway and Sweden, boasting strong readership in outlets like Aftenposten, VG and Aftonbladet. The company’s third focus is in supporting Nordic startups. 

“We want to become Europe’s leading digital media group”, he said. “Not the biggest”.

He acknowledges that Norway, where he is based, is too small of a market for Schibsted to expand into a global news organization. But the company is in a good place to grow even bigger domestically.

According to the 2018 Reuters Digital News Report, Norway comes out on top when it comes to countries willing to pay for online news. It also showed that mobile is the preferred device to consume news within the country. Pedersen says those are the two most important figures when it comes to digital growth, and that’s where Schibsted has been putting its focus. The company is developing an app that can deliver news instantly, with a focus on speed rather than content. 

“To be able to deliver breaking news in real time is absolutely important”, Pedersen said.

Schibsted’s new direction is a visual one. With catchy headlines and graphics driven interfaces, it aims to clasp the younger audience that legacy newspapers struggle to reach. Data from Schibsted revealed that picture-heavy mobile stories had a much higher retention rate, and the company hopes to continue in that direction. Pedersen also stressed the importance of reaching a younger viewership, and catering a digital experience to their personalized needs. He claims legacy media is losing out on a generation. 

“People coming into the market today have a completely different expectation on how they should consume news”, he said. “This is a huge problem”.

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Grace Lee is a digital reporter based out of Hong Kong.

 

Author

Kimberly Lim's picture

Kimberly Lim

Date

2018-11-08 17:46

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