Schibsted had its best year in Sweden everRaoul Grünthal. Photo: Press

Schibsted had its best year ever in Sweden

Publicerad: 19 February 2016, kl. 11:22

Schibsted Sverige, the Swedish branch of the Norwegian media group, is showing its greatest year ever, according to its latest financial report.

Adam Jönsson
 

‘‘During the year, we’ve developed our digital eco-system and fortified our leading position on the market. Our digital revenues now amount to over 60 per cent, which is proof that we’re leading the development,’’ says Raoul Grünthal, CEO Schibsted Sverige, in a comment.

Schibsted Sverige’s gross operating profit (EBITDA) reached SEK962 million for 2015, according to the financial statement released Friday. It increased from SEK910 million the year before.

The turnover increased from SEK5,038 million to SEK5,114 million.

Aftonbladet, one of Schibsted’s Swedish newspapers, showed an increase in digital revenues.

The tabloid paper reported digital revenues amounting to SEK783 million, up from SEK699 million in 2014.

Aftonbladet has worked with its digital strategy since the late 1990s and has positioned itself as the most successful digital paper in Sweden. The paper still enjoys a large portion of direct traffic to its site.

Over the last few years, the paper has put a lot of resources into its TV department. Aftonbladet recently announced it had inked deals with both CNN and Al Jazeera to expand its TV effort further.

Aftonbladet is one of few Swedish newspaper, which have been successful in charging for content online.

In 2003, the paper launched Aftonbladet Plus. The Plus service would let readers access additional, more in-depth, content not available to the public at large.

Aftonbladet Plus currently sits at around 240,000 subscribers, netting Aftonbladet about SEK100 million in profits each year, according to departing editor-in-chief and CEO Jan Helin.

But Aftonbladet has not been spared from the so-called print death.

The paper’s print revenues declined from SEK1,320 million in 2014 to SEK1,152 million, according to the financial statement.

Aftonbladet’s gross operating profit (EBITDA) also declined. It went down to SEK233 million from SEK237 million the year before. The turnover landed at SEK1,935 million, down from SEK2,019 million.

The other Schibsted-controlled Swedish paper, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), is also showing strong digital revenues.

‘‘Our online revenues went up by 28 per cent during 2015 and by 33 per cent during the fourth quarter,’’ says Gunilla Asker, CEO at Svenska Dagbladet, in emailed statement provided to Smashdig.

Svenska Dagbladet’s gross operating profit (EBITDA) landed at SEK51 million, an increase by 46 per cent compared to 2014.

The daily is reporting an 8 per cent decline in print advertising profits.

‘‘This favourable tendency – in combination with the fact that the previously negative development of the print reach has slowed down considerably – is strong proof that SvD’s multi-channel strategy is working,’’ says Asker.

The future of Svenska Dagbladet was up the in air for most of 2015. Schibsted and the Swedish media group MittMedia signed a declaration of intent last spring.

According to the plans, Svenska Dagbladet and MittMedia’s 18 papers would be put into one company. But last fall, the two media companies announced the deal would not be signed and Svenska Dagbladet remained within the Schibsted group.

But despite the positive digital results, Schibsted will still make efforts to save money.

‘‘The development in our media houses in Norway and Sweden is affected by big changes in consumer and advertising markets. Despite these changes, the media houses continue to produce great journalistic achievements. Margin levels were stable compared to Q4 2014, but continued cost cutting is necessary going forward,’’ says Schibsted CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal in a press release about the financial statement for Q4 2015.

The entire Schibsted group reported an increase in turnover from NOK14,975 million to NOK15,117 millon.

Schibsted’s gross operating profit (EBITDA) landed at NOK2,016 million compared to NOK1,941 million the year before.

The biggest increase comes from Schibsted’s business area Growth, where non-journalism sites such as Hitta.se and Prisjakt.se are included.

Growth reported a gross operating profit (EBITDA) of SEK210 million, up from SEK207 million in 2014.

The turnover landed at SEK1,008 million. It increased from SEK953 million the year before.

‘‘We have gradually increased our efforts within digital product and technology development during 2015 – and we plan to do even more in 2016,’’ says Ryssdal.

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