Norwegian Online Newspaper Success

In an interesting article, the NY Times profiles VG, a Norwegian tabloid newspaper having great success online. There are some unique factors in the Norwegian and Swedish markets (where publisher Schibsted also operates). But the company’s success doesn’t seem to be purely a function of those things.

From the article:

In 1995, Schibsted started investing heavily in new media, and it stuck with those commitments in 2000 and 2001, when some other publishers turned skeptical. In recent years, the investments have started to pay off, and Schibsted is now the biggest player on the Internet in Norway and neighboring Sweden. It has also expanded aggressively into new markets like France and Spain, starting free newspapers under the name 20 Minutes and acquiring classified advertising businesses that it is moving onto the Internet.

But a specialized classified advertising Web site owned by Schibsted, www.finn.no, has become one of the 10 most popular sites in Norway, and the company has replicated it in Sweden under the name Blocket. Revenue from the classified sites has helped to offset declines at the newspapers, in effect subsidizing the cost of the papers’ journalism.

While Yahoo and Google dominate most markets, Schibsted was able to build www.vg.no into the most popular site in Norway, attracting more than two million unique visitors a week. Four other Schibsted-owned sites are in the top 20, and the company has a comparable presence in the Swedish Web rankings.

Early “adoption” of the Internet, a willingness to cannibalize the traditional product, development of other online properties and brands, and (I would imagine) aggressive promotion in the traditional product are contributing to the papers’ success.

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Here’s more on Schibsted’s online video strategy.

One Response to “Norwegian Online Newspaper Success”

  1. Tom Says:

    This is what http://www.adsbay.co.uk is trying to branch into, there is no reason why newspapers can’t advertise for online and offline ads in both there paper on their websites. Diversify is the name of the game!

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