Swedish government needs to support digital media projects, entrepreneur says
In an attempt to secure the digital future of Swedish media, 12 digital media entrepreneurs and editors were invited to participate in a discussion at the Ministry of Culture Monday.
‘‘We are all facing the same difficulties and [we] want to find an economic solution,’’ Krister Leimola, CEO and founder of local news site Jmini.se, tells Smashdig.
The discussion was a part of the ongoing work by the Swedish government’s Media Commission, which has been tasked with investigating what political efforts are needed to help sustain the Swedish media industry.
In the fall, the commission presented its partial report. The second, ongoing, part of the investigation will focus on the digital aspects of the Swedish media market.
A key question to the discussion was what type of press subsidy digital news outlets should be entitled to. Today, the Swedish press subsidy doesn’t apply to digital actors.
‘‘It [the Commission] is worried about the democracy aspect, that we are losing high-quality journalistic work when international actors come in and eat the profits,’’ Leimola says.
A lot of the current media policies are focused on the big media houses, but the local, digital media projects are growing and need support, Leimola says.
‘‘I hope the Commission listens to the smaller actors and doesn’t just hand out money to the media houses,’’ the Jmini CEO says. ‘‘They must also go to the media start-ups. Otherwise it’s unfair and weird that those of us who are already digital don’t get a part of this.’’
In the past few years, a number of Swedish digital media projects have been launched.
In Jönköping, where Jmini is based, three digital-only news sites compete with traditional media for both the audience and advertisers.
This year, Bonnier Growth-owned KIT and Dagens industri’s Di Digital started reporting for a digital audience within weeks of each other.
Marianne Galmor Rönnberg, founder and editor of the local news site Bjuvsnytt.se and Martin Schibbye, who was a part of the team launching crowdfunded Blank Spot Project this spring, also attended the meeting.
And a new digital media strategy seems to be needed.
Reports by Sveriges Mediebyråer shows media investments in print are declining in rapid pace whereas Internet is a growing market.
A number of studies also seem to suggest media companies need to transform into a digital-first thinking if they aim to be alive in a couple of years.
‘‘It [the digital media market] is on the rise, but it’s still an embryo,’’ Leimola says. ‘‘I see the shortage [of digital media projects]. There are a lot of white spots to cover.’’