Finnish Media Landscape Is Starting To Shift. About Time!

We recently argued that Schibsted will give Finnish media companies a run for their money in classifieds and market places. Now Schibsted Classified Media Finland's CEO, Jussi Lystimäki, tells us that just passed the one million unique visitor water mark last week. This comes from a firm who just opened their Finnish site in December.

Lystimäki further commented that they are adding tens of thousands of products a month. No doubt, this traffic has not been cheap, but it comes to show that that digital marketing is fulfilling its overdue promise and that ROI is superior compared to the traditional channels. If marketing's focus is moving online, it should also be the media's.

Finland is not protected from what has been happening in other markets for some time and it's high time for the Finnish companies to wake up to reality. I might be overly optimistic here, but perhaps they may even start innovating on their own and who knows, maybe we will see quality content emerge beyond classifieds. Never have Finns been as innovative and performed as well as when the crisis has been the deepest. And deep it is.

We will impatiently wait for Alma Media's and Sanoma's counter reaction to the Schibsted offensive. There will be one, right?

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Lauri, February 26, 2010

How does make money?

Asmunder February 26, 2010

By the way it would be interesting to see on or on

Mari, February 26, 2010

It won't be free to announce at Tori forever, I guess. In Sweden it is not a free service but's EBIT is over 40 percent. That is huge!

Hannu Ripatti, February 26, 2010

Ville, what the fuck are you trying to say here? You guys seem to bash the media industry almost daily here on ArcticStartup. Now, I don't know what your expecting, but having worked with quite a few of the big guys over the last couple of years I think you should sing their praises for showing the way for many other industries.

Haven't seen too many other companies (startup or other) creating online services that are used by hundreds of thousands of finns and generating some money on the side.

Ville Vesterinen February 26, 2010


I'm saying the dog days are over for the Finnish media's old guard, and bring it up on this forum because they dont like to write about their own lack of innovation and fear of renewal.

"online services that are used by hundreds of thousands of Finns". ...Only because there is no choice. It has been an oligopoly of poor services and Im tired of that. In all seriousness, there is not a single quality Finnish language news site in this country. Nor are the services very innovative and even the replicas are badly designed and horrid to use.

I'm hoping Schibsted entering the scene, increasingly along with some small independent players, will wake up the Finnish media companies and force them to, perhaps the first time, try to understand how to better serve their users&readers, and not just focus on holding on to the status quo and their excisting revenue streams&models.

Not an easy task, but we can do better. We have to. A goal to have a good quality media is too important for a country to give up on. And by media I mean it in the larger meaning of the word.

teppohudson February 26, 2010

I agree. To hear the CEO saying "we just passed 1 million unique visitors" is a bit hazy. Is this in a week, in a month or since they started in December? And I would trust more on a third party tracking service.

However, I bet is pumping up the heat. That is for sure.

Clara, February 26, 2010

As I mentioned in a comment to your other post, one of the classified media businesses Schibsted acquired in Spain is, which was a traditionally free-ad incumbent (was also an incumbent online thought it's origins were in print). Sometime after acquiring it they changed the business model radically, from free ad model to paid ad model, so that privates selling anything had to pay to place stuff there, from real estate (highest price per ad) to cars (mid-range) to anything else (that payment model came a little later, but basically was the last step to the complete overhaul of the business model from free to paid).

Hannu Ripatti, February 26, 2010

Ville, I still don't understand your point. Yes, some of them are not well designed, but the same goes for every industry including startups. I would still argue that hundreds of thousands do account for something. Or do you actually feel that everyone in Finland (and all over the world) is so stupid that they use sites that are no good and don't provide anything worth reading/watching?

Another thing to consider is the market size. Maybe Asmunder can enlighten us on the R&D budget of a media company, but I'm betting there is not too much left after taking care of all the expences. If there is no money on the horizon, would you invest everything in development?

I don't even know exactly what your are talking about since news != media. Can you name some examples of news/media sites that you think are good benchmarks?

I think there is a point why they are holding on to their existing models and revenues. Maybe I'm stupid, but I haven't heard of too many news/media sites that have some new model and generate a healthy income anywhere. Assuming that no business model for online media will emerge (quite possible), I think they are quite reasonable in at least generating some money while it lasts. You're not giving up on the models that generate money for Arctic Startup?

Why not do a few blog posts on the services that are good (and generate money) and the intrapreneurs who are working to make them even better? Positive examples to inspire others, you know.

mari, February 26, 2010

I recommend everyone to read this

There is a strategy that seems to work online extremely well. Unfortunately, traditional media content like news or television shows, is not the most profitable business. But platforms focused purely ads (both personal and company ads) are generating significant profits. At least to Schibsted. And of course they have money machine

ottoutti February 26, 2010

I'm with Asmunder and Teppo here: Let's hope they'll join one of the two services.

But as at least TNS is mostly used for ad sales purposes, and as Schibsted's model here doesn't seem to include display advertising, I wouldn't bet on the move taking place any time too soon.

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Karri Saarinen, February 27, 2010

I don't consider good business to be about amount of customers, marketshare nor shareholder value. Good business is about creating value and extracting that with a good profit. I rather build a business with fewer customers and better profit than the otherway around.

I agree with Ville about quality of these sites and it's not about design or anything, it's about value that they provide or don't provide. It's unfortunate that the Internet for the masses is still about clicking some icon on the desktop, choosing from the bookmarks and reading some gossip about celebrities.

Back to the point. Old media today doesn't extract the value which they create from their readers, the supposed customers. Their business is about selling advertisements or rather, selling a untangible reader's attention. Readers then pay ad subsided subscription for the experience or habit of having a paper copy of new random stuff happening around the world.

I don't know the exact numbers but newspapers probably make a loss with each subscription. With the current cost structure subscription models will not work without advertisers. You would have to have to ask for few euros per story (depending on the scale) and people don't value news or bits of information that much and since today you have lot more options to get news.

(I really don't know what is the value of news. For years, I haven't read newspapers, watched tv or frequently visited news sites. I realized that most of the news really don't affect my life in any way. Getting more information is not valuable, but rather a waste I like to avoid. I want less, better, insightful and more related information, like books, articles and talks about subjects that interest me.)

Einstein said that you cannot solve problems with tools that you created them with. I think this is the case with the old media.

There are hundreds of companies and thousands of smart people thinking about and trying to solve the "future of the media", which in reality means "how do we continue our old way when advertisers leave us for better options". No one has yet come up with an solution, and personally I think there are no solutions for this problem.

However, there are and might be solutions for future of journalism and media.

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Ville Vesterinen March 01, 2010


All news is media, but all media is not news. For a refreshing quality news media you should get familiar with For a refreshing media company see or

I'd love to do blogs posts on companies that are good. Schibsted is actually getting pretty close and yes, we wrote about them. Jaiku was (before bought by Google) really good too, and we made sure to celebrate them as well. What I can't do is be dishonest and there are not too many good media (news or otherwise) coming from this part of the world, let alone from Finland. In fact, there are very very few.

Petr Ivanov October 16, 2010

Gentlemen! Please explain to me the secret of success! Are they unique? Answer is NO! Are they better? NO!

How are they doing this?? Magic?))