Helsingin Sanomat explores new territory while digital revenues continue to rise


As we lead up to INMA’s European Conference in The Hague, The Netherlands, on September 26-28, we continue our sneak peak at some of our speakers and their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing our industry.

This week, we hear from Masa Peura, director of strategy at Finland’s Sanoma News and Sanoma Media, who gives us his take on paid content, digital revenue, innovation, and differentiating from the competition.

INMA: In general, is paying for content the only remedy for newsmedia companies’ struggles?

Peura: Not the only one. Newsmedia companies should search for new revenue streams and business models actively. However, to keep the core business viable in the long run, paying for content is crucial.

INMA: There are many paid content models. Which ones work best for Helsingin Sanomat?

Peura: We have found the bundled model very successful. However, we have announced that we are also looking into The New York Times type of open paywall model.

INMA: What percentage of your revenue is generated by digital?

Peura: If I only look at our newsmedia division, Sanoma News, share of digital was 12% of total revenues in 2011. In 2012, we expect the share to rise to 14% and also continue to grow strongly in 2013.

INMA: What are Helsingin Sanomat’s ideas for boosting digital revenue?

Peura: Helsingin Sanomat believes in rethinking the newspaper’s business model. On top of online advertising revenues, we need to build a strong paid-for consumer offering that combines print and digital in a new way. It is also interesting to explore opportunities in bundling mobile and tablet devices with the new digital services.

INMA: Where exactly do you look for innovation?

Peura: Innovation should not be restricted to any specific area. There are a lot of opportunities in more traditional print products that can generate new revenue streams. What we see now happening in Finland is the combination of subscribed to and freely delivered newspapers bringing in higher coverage, especially for retail customers. In the online world, e-commerce and online video are still in the development phase and will bring a lot of new opportunities for newsmedia companies.

INMA: How do/will you differentiate your brand and your news site from the competition?

Peura: Helsingin Sanomat is the only national newspaper in Finland offering quality content on multiple channels. We aim at being the forerunner in multi-channel publishing while making sure that we offer the best newsmedia content to our customers. I am looking forward to opening up our story more in the INMA Hague conference.

For more information on and registration for our European Conference, please visit our Web site. See you in The Hague! INMA correspondent Marek Miller will be blogging live from the Conference at forum4editors.com.

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