Published 2021-09-16

Schibsted reaches new milestone – more than one million digital subscribers

Schibsted News Media has passed one million digital subscribers. “No one thought this would be possible when we launched Aftonbladet Plus as the first paid digital subscription product 18 years ago,” says Director of User Payments, Tor Jacobsen.

18 years ago, Aftonbladet marked the starting point for Schibsted user payment. At that time, very few people believed in the new business model. Tor Jacobsen is very happy to be able to disprove the sceptics with another new record in number of subscribers.

“Virtually no one believed that user payment was to become one of Schibsted’s most important sources of income. The last few years have been an adventure, and subscription-based business models are today one of the largest global trends both in and outside the media industry. The fact that we now have one million digital subscribers in News Media is a real milestone,” says Jacobsen.

Requires quality

Digital subscribers are distributed between Schibsted’s journalistic brands in Norway and Sweden. If you include paper products and other subscription-based services, the total number of subscribers is close to 1.5 million. According to Jacobsen, the strong growth in recent years is due to strategic work in several areas.

“We have worked hard to develop and improve our paid journalistic products, in addition to strengthening the brands’ digital positions. Today’s media users expect high quality, and the competitive situation has never been tougher. As we have increased the breadth and quality of journalism, we have also worked hard to develop and implement other attractive content in our subscriptions. This includes popular entertainment concepts, live sports and podcasts,” he says.

Editorial investment

In addition to investing more in sports and entertainment, among other things, Schibsted has also invested heavily in developing core products in the editorial environment.

We charge for much more of our content today than we did a few years ago. “Journalism and content are the most important drivers for our growth, and we have worked purposefully over time to strengthen the paid product,” says Jacobsen.

Major changes in terms of working methods:
“We have gathered all forces that work with user payment in a common environment across countries and brands, which has benefited everyone. We have also invested heavily in subscription expertise, including data and analysis.”

Entertainment and sports are becoming increasingly important

VGTV’s series “Not allowed to laugh at the cabin” is a good example of an entertainment concept that has really struck a chord, especially with the younger target group. More and more attractive rights to show live sports have also contributed well, not least at Aftonbladet.

There is no doubt that both entertainment, sports and podcasts are important focus areas to ensure further growth. Completely new areas with exciting opportunities for new subscription concepts are also likely to emerge. At the same time, traditional journalism is still our core, which we must continue to improve and develop. We will bear both of these in mind as we continue to develop Schibsted subscriptions of the future,” says Jacobsen.