Why Swedish daily Expressen’s international viral expansion halted
In November of 2014, Expressen’s sports editor Anders Nettelbladt came up with an idea during a meeting attended by number of his colleagues at the Swedish newspaper. The paper was going to launch the Swedish-language viral site Omtalat in three additional languages.
A few weeks later, developers at Expressen Labs had come up with Norwegian Omsnakket.no, Turkish Begenmek.com and German Superschnack.de. An editor speaking the language was appointed for each of the three sites.
The international expansion came just four months after the newspaper had launched Omtalat, which quickly placed itself as the most popular viral site in Sweden.
During the eight weeks the Kia-index – the official tool for measuring traffic to Swedish web sites – had measured audience traffic to Omtalat, the site beat rival evening paper Aftonbladet’s viral site Lajkat.se 7-1, Expressen editor-in-chief Thomas Mattsson wrote in a blog post dated Nov. 20, 2014.
In a December press release, Expressen’s parent company Bonnier wrote the newspaper was expanding unconventionally as it had launched eight new web sites (including the Omtalat editions) in a short period of time.
But Expressen’s international expansion seems to have halted.
Omsnakket.no hasn’t published an article since April 16, 2015. The latest post on Superschnack.de is dated Feb. 28, 2015. And on Begenmek.com, nothing has been published since April 17, 2015.
‘‘The international viral sites are still operational, but we´re currently focusing on the Swedish market given that we are gaining market shares rapidly here. In 2013, Expressen had only 19 per cent of the mobile market defined as the two leading media houses in Sweden, but now we have some 42-43 per cent,’’ Mattsson tells Smashdig in an email. ‘‘This increase in traffic and reach has been phenomenal, so we´ve staffed up the Swedish business to meet the demand from both editorial and development points of views.’’
‘‘Superschnack in Germany, Begenmek in Turkey and Omsnakket in Norway are still owned by Expressen, though, and if and when needed we can activate them via social media and, of course, preferably Facebook,’’ says Mattsson.
Last week, Expressen launched a re-vamped version of its Swedish Omtalat edition. The rebooted viral site has added nine new categories: News, Justice, Voices, Life, Everyday heroes, Sex and relationships, LOL, tech and entertainment.
‘‘We are seeing that young people are reading and are engaged by issues surrounding justice, opinions and relations, that’s why we’re focusing more on that type of material,’’ Dan Edström, editor at Omtalat, says in a press release.
Omtalat is now also focusing more on podcasts and video content.
The reboot could be viewed as Expressen’s response to the late-2015 announcement by competitors Newsner and Lajkat.se, which struck a deal in order to create the biggest social media network in Sweden.
While Omtalat still is a good source of traffic for Expressen, the newspaper’s main focus in the coming years will be to develop its online television section further, Mattsson says.
The newspaper has recruited a number of well-known traditional TV reporters and anchors.
In September of last year, Expressen TV announced it had become a partner to BuzzFeed. According to the deal, all of the American media company’s video content can be featured on the Swedish newspaper’s web site.
A few months later, in December, Expressen struck a deal with CNN.
The Swedish evening paper is now an affiliate of the American network. It can access video coverage of international news stories whereas CNN, in turn, will have access to coverage from news events in Sweden. (CNN has also struck a deal with Expressen rival Aftonbladet.)
‘‘Video on digital platforms is an essential part of our offering and crucial to future success,’’ Mattsson says.ExpressenThomas MattssonOmtalatViralOmsnakketBegenmekSuperschnack