Sweden’s Expressen is set to increase the quality, output and profitability of its already extensive video operation in 2019. Editor-in-chief Thomas Mattsson, who will speak at this year’s World News Media Congress in Glasgow in June, shares his plans for the newsroom.
With their innovative approaches to both the editorial and business side, news organisations in Scandinavia have long served as an inspiration for publishers across the continent, if not the world.
So what are some of their priorities for the new year? WAN-IFRA caught up with Thomas Mattsson, editor-in-chief of Sweden’s Expressen, to find out what he views as the biggest opportunities and challenges for his newsroom and the industry at large, and to gain insight into Expressen’s latest plans and projects.
Aiming to stay ahead of the curve, Expressen, owned by Bonnier Group, is putting a strong focus on data analytics, tapping into audio and pushing to greater heights its TV operation, its biggest editorial department.
Mattsson will be speaking at this year’s World News Media Congress, taking place from 1 to 3 June in Glasgow, Scotland, about next-generation storytelling and the move from print to video.
WAN-IFRA: What is your newsroom’s biggest challenge?
Thomas Mattsson: To continue to increase our reach, currently almost 3 million Swedes out of 10 million inhabitants consume Expressen every day, and to do so while still managing to increase our digital subscribers in the new Expressen Premium service. This is a split strategy in order to become Sweden’s primary news provider online and keep our online advertising revenues growing.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for news media in Sweden and globally?
Video and audio. Expressen TV is Sweden’s only 24/7 news channel, our biggest editorial department and the exclusive affiliate station to CNN in Sweden. In 2018 we started to offer our podcasts on smart speakers. But, and an very important but, there are still business models to develop and newspapers must be much more forward leaning so that we´ll have video to basically all text based stories and find ways to profit from audio, as well, just to mention a few things.
What new roles have you introduced in the newsroom in the last year or are planning to introduce this year?
We have more than 260 data screens in the newsroom offering everyone insights and we have educated journalists so that they can be a part of the analyst team, which is also located right among news and web editors. We are also forming new content production teams, so that our video and audio shows is of greater quality and may be distributed by various OTT operators.
What are some of the new projects you are involved in?
During 2019, the business unit Expressen Magazine/Lifestyle will cooperate in depth with our sister company Bonnier Magazines & Brands in order to integrate our production of weekly and monthly magazine titles. Some of them used to be supplements to the Expressen newspaper, but now it's possible to buy them stand alone, too. The content from the printed magazines are also core to our feature sites about food, travel, cars etc.
What are some of the top priorities for Expressen this year?
We have increased our total ad sales six years in a row, despite the structural decline in print, and in 2019 we expect video to be one of our main revenue streams. Expressen Premium, our paid content service, is also key. As is the continued trust in video, which I guess will be the most relevant communication together with audio in the future.