To the next level
By Rolv Erik Ryssdal, CEO
For Schibsted Media Group, 2015 will be characterized by three important issues: Our media houses continue their digital transformation. Our classifieds-business will develop further, including our joint ventures with Naspers. And we take a big step up in technology. Together, this will bring us to a higher level.
As we look back at the past year, I am proud to see so many excellent achievements in our companies and in the Group.
Schibsted has a mission of “Empowering people in their daily life”. We have fulfilled that promise with numerous product improvements and innovations all across our business areas. To mention just a few: Leboncoin launched an automatic ad-review, thereby both saving costs on manual ad-reviews and at the same time limiting fraud for our users. Blocket’s new environmental report was excellent, showing the enormously positive recycling-benefits on the environment. We are leading the way in mobile development of the classifieds market, benefitting loads of new consumers. And our media houses continue to win prizes both for high quality journalism and digital development, constantly growing their audiences simultaneously.
And for the first time, we launched our own “Future Report”; sharing the insights we have in technology, trends and media. This is a good example of “Empowering people” in practice! Read more at schibstedfuturereport.com. http://schibstedfuturereport.com/
Exciting joint ventures in Online Classifieds
At the turn of the year, the Schibsted, Naspers, Telenor and SPH joint ventures for online classifieds in four key markets – Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh – were formally established. The establishment of these joint ventures will bring substantial benefits to the consumers, as they will be able to buy and sell goods on better and more comprehensive market places. It also enables the companies to more efficiently share costs, expertise and people, while building awareness about vibrant online classifieds offerings to the consumers. By joining forces, we will be able to develop our market places even more efficiently.
We have our strongest positions in Europe, and hold leading positions in countries like Norway, Sweden, France, Ireland, Spain, Austria and Italy. Going forward, it is very important that we develop and strengthen these positions further.
I would also like to mention Spain in particular. We now have ownership of many leading sites in Spain, such as Segundamano, Infojobs, Coches and Fotocasa. In addition to that, we have acquired the exciting company Milanuncios. We have a clear vision and commitment to the Spanish market, and we see it as a key country for future growth.
World-class digital media houses
It is fair to say that 2014 was also challenging for us in many ways. The severe decline in print advertisement continues in the media houses, and is expected to do so also in 2015. Of course this came as no surprise to us. We have been working very hard for several years to build the digital media houses of the future. I am pleased with what we have achieved so far, but I also think it is wise to be realistic and realize that very much work still remains.
In the midst of this transformation, we continue to make great journalism! In April, Bergens Tidende won the “Skup”-award for “Jannes story”. VG has claimed numerous awards for their coverage of chess world championships and Aftonbladet has launched the viral success-site Lajkat.se. Aftonbladet also broke new and historic ground with their coverage of the traditional “Party leaders debate” on web-tv. And Aftenposten has shocked both politicians and citizens with their revelations on mobile surveillance in downtown Oslo, a strong story that is bound to have repercussions.
Step up in technology
During the last years, users have changed behavior at a higher pace than ever before. They consume media in new ways and across platforms, they expect online services to follow them seamlessly, they expect services to know them and not just adapt to them but also anticipate their needs, they seek one-click solutions and immediate response, and they are more qualified and adept as digital consumers, expecting only the best from us.
Better technology will allow us to deliver services that help people in ways they never dreamed possible. The new game of logged-in, data analytics and sophisticated technology requires us to have global scale infrastructure and expertise – but it also requires local strength and consumer knowledge. Only by being sufficiently present in our users’ daily lives can we actually be able to fully understand and anticipate their needs and interests. In the years to come we will go towards offering our users a seamless experience between all our sites, across all devices, with useful and relevant personalization.
To meet the challenge, we are making a coordinated effort and forceful investment in technology, for example in building new global platforms for our media houses, online marketplaces and digital advertising. This will increase our capability for swift innovation and make us more agile in adapting to the constantly changing needs of our users.
As you can see, we have done some great things – and we are doing it as we speak. But we are not done. Now, it’s time for us to take the next leap. We need to step up once again. We need to be daring and we need to solve some really tough issues. We need to change a lot to adapt to the future. While doing so, we must make sure we keep the best of our culture – the drive, the heart and the innovative spirit – and combine it with world class technology. Only then will we continue to be a company that brings our users the very best experiences and really contribute to “Empowering people in their daily life”.