Budstikka, a local newspaper brand in Norway, is adopting a new business structure and employing new strategies to remain competitive with other local companies, Terje Tandberg, CEO of Budstikka Media, explained during his keynote address at the Local Media Ideas Day on Wednesday.

Despite being a small local brand, Budstikka is a media company with 2,100 shareholders, the largest holding 10% of the shares. It is one of the few remaining Norwegian local media companies that is not a part of large media group.

Terje Tandberg, CEO of Budstikka Media, discussed his many company's 99% subscription rate and many platform options at INMA's Ideas Day on Wednesday.
Terje Tandberg, CEO of Budstikka Media, discussed his many company's 99% subscription rate and many platform options at INMA's Ideas Day on Wednesday.

It has 80,000 unique daily readers, which is up 3,000 from 2017. Every day, readers access content through print (45,000), desktop (36,000), and mobile (25,000). The company has a 99% subscription rate and 35 journalists.

Budstikka has more readers now than ever before because it has so many channels of distribution. The DNA of the publication lies within, about, and for the cities of Asker and Bærum, Tandberg said. Readers will not find a single word about anything from outside of those two cities, as the publisher understands there are many other media that cover national and international news, and can do it better.

On the other hand, Budstikka is the only publication that covers news from Asker and Bærum. “And we are not going to change that,” Tandberg said.

The business structure of Budstikka Media is based on three pillars:

  1. Media.
  2. Digital services.
  3. Property development.

Starting October 2, it will implement a paywall. “We are probably the last ones in Norway to do that, but there are reasons behind that,” Tandberg said. The reasons are that Budstikka wanted to: 

  • Learn from the experience of other players.
  • Grow digitally before setting up a paywall. And it knew it was better to start from the higher level of readership, as that will sink after the paywall begins.
  • Establish its digital agency for marketing and ad sales. The company expected the traffic to be reduced by 25%, and it was important to have a group of people for ad offerings and delivering the same product through Google, social media, and other channels.

The B17 digital agency has 13 people who are responsible for display ads (Google Display Network and RTB), social media, Google (SEM/SEO) and content marketing, insights and analysis, and CRM analysis. The digital agency also tries to work as a creative partner for its clients.

“It’s important to realise that once a new technology rolls over you, you’re not a steamroller. You’re a part of the road,” Tandberg said.

This is difficult for Budstikka, which is why it is looking hard for other income sources beyond distribution and advertising. Apart from the above, Budstikka also builds verticals and new brands built upon content marketing, which are created to build both income and traffic.