Dagens Nyheter refuses to budge on importance of printed product


With all the emphasis on new media and multi-platform delivery, Johan Othelius says it's important to remember to keep things in perspective. Othelius, director of sales and marketing at Dagens Nyheter in Sweden, said the company still places a tremendous amount of emphasis on the printed product: “We're not giving up on the printed newspaper, even to the younger, more digital generation.”

He reminded attendees that the printed newspaper still produces the bulk of revenue. “Innovation is important,” he said, “but you can't just focus on the digital possibilities. It's important to focus and be innovative with the print business.”

Othelius said Dagens Nyheter is singling out target groups to promote all of its product, especially print. He singled out families and children as one particular target of interest. He cited research in Finland showing that “in families with a newspaper at home, the kids had a significantly higher chance of succeeding and getting better grades in school.”

The newspaper reaches out to families and children through methods like targeted direct mail, emphasising the importance of having a newspaper at home. One mailing, he said, produced 20,000 new subscribers to the printed product, as well as a huge increase in Web site traffic. This not only creates a future audience through children, but also promotes products to parents who are today's consumers. It's a strategy that builds both the present and the future, he said.

Dagens Nyheter also uses an indirect strategy to reach younger audiences through schools, and through teachers. One example was a national competition testing students' knowledge of current events, which drew more than 275,000 participants. The competition took place on a single day, with winners in each of 25 counties. More importantly, Othelius said, the publisher encourages participation by students through interactive, hands-on activities.

He said a particular emphasis has been placed on connecting with teachers. “They're our best fans,” he said. “They do an indirect job of marketing the newspaper to students."

The result has been tangible. In particular, he said, paid newspaper subscriptions are actually up over a year ago, which is not the case in a large number of newspaper markets in northern Europe.

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