The cornerstones of Alma Media’s strategy in 2013 were the development of multi-channel publishing, growing digital services and increasing the operational efficiency of the company. The Group’s strategy is especially to increase the digital share of its total revenue. In 2013, Alma Media’s revenue from digital products and services increased by 8.4 per cent. Digital products and services accounted for 28.1 per cent of the Group’s total turnover.
Development of multi-channel publishing
Alma Media’s national, regional and local media provide information, service and experiences to customers. Newspapers are brands valued by people in their areas of reach and communities, and with their support Alma Media can bring new media channels and services to the market.
In 2013, Alma Media continued to develop its publishing operations towards multimediality. The focus of the development of digital publishing operations during the year was on paid content in electronic channels and improving the usability of mobile media. Kauppalehti, Iltalehti and Aamulehti launched applications that make it easier to follow news streams on mobile devices. Kauppalehti also launched a digital media development project to redesign content, subscription products and media sales opportunities.
Alma Media had a strong focus on developing the revenue model for the online services of its newspapers in 2013. The subscription pricing of regional newspapers was clarified, and the online contents of some local papers were moved behind a paywall. Alma Media’s publishing operations have also focused on renewing the content, format and design of newspapers. Among the Group's regional newspapers, Lapin Kansa, Pohjolan Sanomat, Kainuun Sanomat and Satakunnan Kansa have adopted the tabloid format. Aamulehti will shift to the tabloid format in April 2014. Lännen Media includes the newspapers Aamulehti, Satakunnan Kansa, Lapin Kansa, Kainuun Sanomat, Pohjolan Sanomat, Turun Sanomat, Kaleva, Ilkka, Pohjalainen, Hämeen Sanomat, Forssan Lehti and Keskipohjanmaa.
In a time of weak market conditions for print media, Alma Media has maintained its competitiveness by increasing efficiency. In 2012, Alma Regional Media implemented a structural reform to increase cooperation while eliminating duplications of effort. The improvement of operational efficiency and services to readers continued in 2013 with closer editorial cooperation. Alma Regional Media began content and development cooperation with Ilkka Group, Kaleva and Turun Sanomat. In the beginning of 2014, Alma Media and five other Finnish publishers signed a letter of intent, planning to significantly expand their journalistic cooperation and establish a company called Lännen Media.
Alma Media shifted the Kemi-based regional newspaper Pohjolan Sanomat into five-day publication from the beginning of 2014. The reduced print delivery was supplemented by a continuously updated online service. Alma Regional Media also expanded its regional presence in the Sea Lapland area by acquiring the town paper Lounais-Lappi from Forum24 Oy, a subsidiary of Kaleva Group.
Increasing communality played a key role in the development of publishing operations in 2013. A tablet pilot carried out in Lapland in spring 2013 involved readers in testing the use of a tablet device and the digital edition of Lapin Kansa. The new Aamulehti was also co-designed with readers. Read more on what’s new in publishing operations.
The new printing facility in Tampere for Alma Media’s printing and distribution company Alma Manu was commissioned for full production in April 2013. The new printing facility is one of the world’s most modern newspaper printing facilities, and its high degree of automation improves print quality. The investment improves the competitiveness of printing operations well into the future, increases operational and environmental efficiency and also facilitates product renewal. Read more on what’s new in Alma Media’s printing and distribution operations.
Growing digital services
In 2013, Alma Media continued to develop future business by investing in digital services. Digital revenue was increased by the Group’s acquisitions of recruitment service companies outside Finland. Digital recruitment services accounted for 10.9 per cent of Alma Media’s total revenue in 2013. Investment in recruitment services outside Finland was increased in the beginning of 2014 with the addition of Monster’s services in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to Alma Media’s recruitment service offering. Among the Group’s marketplace services in Finland, the housing portal Etuovi.com in particular maintained profitability at a good level despite the weak cycle in the housing market.
Alma Media divested the non-core marketplace businesses Mascus and Autovia.sk during the year. Going forward, the Group will focus on recruitment and housing portals in its international marketplaces business. Read more on what’s new in the digital marketplaces business.
Alma Media’s digital business services are growing continuously as the utilisation of various information in decision-making increases. This trend has seen Kauppalehti Information Services develop into a significant and profitable part of the Kauppalehti Group’s business. The new services launched by Kauppalehti Information Services in 2013 included a procurement search targeted at the sales organisations of businesses. Read more on the Kauppalehti Group’s digital innovations.
The development of digital advertising services included expanded solutions for managing online visitor traffic and building tools for targeted online advertising, user traffic measurement for web and mobile services, and analytics. Alma Media has seen strong growth in its network advertising, which reaches nearly five million consumers per week, and the company is developing tools that facilitate easier purchasing of digital advertising. Read more on what’s new in digital advertising.
Increasing operational efficiency
In the rapid transformation of the media industry, Alma Media is looking to continuously develop its employees’ capacity and sensitivity to change and build a foundation for a new management culture. This calls for development of management and competence at all organisational levels. In 2013, Alma Media started a new manager education programme aimed at renewing the framework for managerial work and introducing new thinking and agile methods to management development. Increasing the digital competence of employees is also a key focal area for development.
In the Helsinki region, Alma Media centralised its operations in the new Alma building just off Töölö bay,which will improve the company’s internal efficiency and cooperation.The guiding principles for the new premises are the free movement of information and the flexibility of media work.
Alma Media also implemented new tools to improve efficiency in 2013. In May, the financial administration adopted a SAP system to increase the efficiency of financial management processes. Kauppalehti and IL-Media implemented a new media sales system in the beginning of 2014 to harmonise sales workflow between the units.
Core strategy for 2014–2016 remains unchanged
Alma Media’s strategy for 2014–2016 will have the same core as before. The company will focus on moving towards a multi-media approach to publishing operations, growing digital services and cooperating efficiently within the Group. In late 2013, the company announced a target of increasing the share of digital revenue to 50 per cent by 2020.
The focal points of the implementation of the strategy are a multichannel content, marketing solutions, digital services as well as resources and skills. Read more on Alma Media’s future strategic steps.