Norwegian Newspaper Shows The World How Embracing The Internet Is Good For Business

from the giving-people-what-they-want-is-good-for-business? dept

All we hear out of the newspaper business these days are worries about how they’ll continue to compete against the challenge of the internet. Perhaps all those distressed newspaper publishers (and investors) should be looking over to Norway, where the biggest-selling tabloid in that country has learned not only to embrace the internet, but to profit from it as well. While many other newspapers have been worried about cannibalizing their existing revenue lines while freaking out that Craigslist was somehow “costing” them revenue, Norway’s VG looked at the online world as an opportunity, not a threat. It started investing heavily in its online presence all the way back in 1995 and didn’t care if it cannibalized existing business. Instead, the management team realized that it made sense to build its own online classifieds site before someone like Craigslist came in and did it instead. While the circulation of its paper newspapers is down slightly, its earnings are way up. This goes back to the simple fact that newspapers got too focused on thinking they were in the newspaper business, rather than in the business of delivering useful news and information to a community of people in a way that was useful to them, and which brought them together for commerce. If they had recognized something like that (as VG clearly did) then the internet would always have been looked upon as a great platform, rather than something to be hidden in some far away building supported mostly by lip service.

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Comments on “Norwegian Newspaper Shows The World How Embracing The Internet Is Good For Business”

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rstr5105 says:

I can hear the corporations screaming now...

“It’s not fair!”, “It’s the exception to the rule!”, etc etc etc.

I find it kind of hard to believe that all these companies refuse to embrace the inter….oh wait, what am I saying?

Face it, the Internet shows a good way for your business model to evolve. The problem lies in that companies are afraid to take a loss now for gains in the future.

Good job VG. Thank you for showing us how business can evolve along with the times.

Martin says:

slightly OT, but...

…WTF is the illustration in the NY Times of really? The newspapers the guy is holding most certainly aren’t norwegian. Norwegians generally use less accents and more ø’s 😉

But, yeah, VG has done well with it’s online presence. It is, however, the most ‘tabloidy’ tabloid in norway. think ‘The Sun’ lite… *shudders*. Not that that’s relevant either 😉

In general, though, i find the (only two that matter) norwegian publishing houses/news companies not afraid of new tech. For example, Schibsted’s (schibsted owns VG, apparently) main competitor Orkla Media (now Edda Media) bought a network of geeky norwegian news sites (kinda like slashdot, only norwegian, and still not quite) 1 1/2 years ago. Certainly easier than to build something yourself ;). And most norwegian newspapers do not even require registration/subscription/your firstborn just to view a goddamned article. Ads apparently work just fine.

(yeah, I’m norwegian, if anyone wondered.)

anonymous norwegian says:

Newspaper? Newspaper?

I thought we were talking about newspapers. VG does not deliver news (unless you consider the latest developments in the celebrity world news) and soon they’re not even on paper anymore. What an oxymoron.

Not that VG is in any way as tabloid as the Sun, but it sucks to see how popular it is…people don’t care about real goings-on anymore, they just want to be entertained.

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