Dagbladet relies on breaking news to propel growth

By Alexandra Beverfjord

Dagbladet/Aller Media

Oslo, Norway

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Over the past year (even before the pandemic), Dagbladet has intensified its focus on breaking news, which has contributed to a 40% increase in mobile pageviews compared to the previous year. In total for all platforms, pageview growth was 22% in 2019, and the number of sessions and time spent increased significantly.

Dagbladet is Norway’s second-largest tabloid newspaper and has a 151-year history as a news provider. Dagbladet is also one of Norway’s most award-winning newspapers when it comes to investigative journalism.

Daily page views are up 40% on mobile devices since Dagbladet intensified its breaking news coverage.
Daily page views are up 40% on mobile devices since Dagbladet intensified its breaking news coverage.

Being first and most accurate on breaking news is a perpetual work in progress, and it is also where media competition is hardest. Dagbladets closest competitors in Norway have more than twice as many news journalists as we do. Despite fierce competition, Dagbladet manages to show strong growth. And much of this is because of our highly skilled staff as well as a culture and working method that benefits strongly from internal collaboration. This enables us to deliver better than the number of employees would indicate.

Dagbladet is so successful in its focus on breaking news for three reasons:

1. Content

Breaking news is demanding, both qualitatively and quantitatively. It must be delivered promptly and the information published must be accurate. Dagbladets ambition is to be first with push, new postings, photos, maps, TV, witness descriptions, expert opinions, factual information, and commentary articles during major news events.

Over the past year, Dagbladet has increased the number of reporters who work evenings, nights, and weekends. We have introduced a clearer division of responsibilities between duties. Maintaining a clear structure is crucial in a business where the seconds count.

At the same time, the newspaper has increased its focus on Web TV. It is not possible today to be the best digital newspaper on breaking news without also being No. 1 on Web TV. People expect live broadcasts 24/7.

Presentation is also a key factor for us. We constantly adjust what readers see when they visit our site, and have increased the use of crawlers and other visual elements to give readers a sense of breaking news.

2. Analysis

Dagbladet has long been a data-driven newspaper, but we intensified this work in 2019. Multiple screens in the newsroom and better tools for each journalist have been crucial for the success. We are focused on direct traffic, the number of unique users, pageviews, sessions, and, of course, time spent.

Dagbladet also has a strong focus on digital subscriptions, which mainly come via the front page. Dagbladets front page also has several other distribution tasks, both editorial and commercial. We are therefore constantly working on conflicting KPIs. Setting clear and realistic KPIs for the different environments is crucial to success.

3. Technology

Best practices in technological tools is a prerequisite for delivering the news quickly. During the past year, the development department at Aller Media has:

  • Developed a robot, Gambit, for the news floor. With the use of AI, Dagbladet is much more capable of being the first to push/publish international news by both monitoring and helping write breaking news stories.
  • Developed a new breaking news studio for television. This groundbreaking studio allows us to produce a full TV show with just one person, who can present and produce the broadcast at the same time. Our response time for TV live is down to a few seconds.
  • Developed a personalisation system, Xavier, which presents the right content to the right user. The system also allows us to make the best use of the various places on the first page through automation.

In sum, the improvements in content production, analysis usage, and technological tools have led even more Norwegians using Dagbladet, with 28% of Norways population visiting daily. Our focus on breaking news has also led to increased use of our front page, which in turn has contributed to 47% growth in digital subscribers over the past year.

About Alexandra Beverfjord

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