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Small Norwegian paper banking on all-access subscription model and local ties

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Small Norwegian paper banking on all-access subscription model and local ties

For Tormodsgard, chief editor since 1999, the all-access subscription model was a practical move on a number of levels for a newspaper that has a staff of 40, 15 for editorial (10 journalists), and focuses heavily on local coverage. The paper is published three times a week and has a print run of 9,320 copies.

Tormodsgard will be speaking during WAN-IFRA's World Printers Forum conference in Amsterdam on 15-16 October.  In this email interview, Tormodsgard tells us about Hallingdølen’s all-access strategy, the paper’s efforts to put local residents at the centre of their stories as well as what they are doing to try to create new revenue sources.

WAN-IFRA: How are you innovating in print, and is it helping your helping your circulation?

Bjarne Tormodsgard: We were the first Norwegian newspaper to introduce a paywall in November 2011. This is our business-model; One subscription – four platforms. That means our newspaper-subscribers get access to ALL content on paper, web, tablets and cell phones. It is the same content on ALL platforms (exept the videos). Our philosophy is to make use of all platforms. But it is impossible for a small local newspaper to make different content-products on the different platforms. Therefore – one subscription – four platforms. Our goal was to stop the decline in circulation. We haven't stopped the decline, but it is reduced (All together minus 1.4 percent through the last two years). This is much less than for rest of the newspaper-business in Norway (minus 7-8 percent last two years).

What are some of the ways that you are putting local residents at the centre of coverage?

Everyone has a place in Hallingdølen: Men, women, children, youth, elderly and immigrants. They are all a part of the newspaper. We are looking for the everyday-stories all the time. We have to make our readers visible and lift them up in all aspects of life. In practical journalism this means that we write about people. People who the readers know or can indentify with. Then the editorial content will gain more credibility. Surprise, engage, irritate, give the readers new knowledge and a good experience – this is our goal.

How are your reporters using video to tell stories - are you doing mostly short videos (1-2 minutes) or longer ones?

We started a video project in November 2011. Since then the journalists have made more than 600 videos. They last from 15 seconds to 90 minutes. Mostly of them last from 45 – 90 seconds. All our journalists write, take photos and make videos.

These days, everyone is looking for additional sources of revenue, what are some of the things that Hallingdølen is doing?

We try to get more video-ads – AND – combination of video-ads and paper-ads. We have also just started a web-TV project. The project will run for two years. We have done some test transmissions. These have gone live and they have been sponsored by local businesses. The aim of the project is to find out whether a local newspaper can produce web-TV or if this is only for the major newspapers. And, of course, - if web-TV can give us new income.

The World Printers Forum conference will be held on 15 and 16 October, the last day of and the day after World Publishing Expo 2014 in Amsterdam. A season ticket for the exhibition taking place from 13 to 15 October is included in the conference price.


Brian Veseling's picture

Brian Veseling


2014-09-22 15:01

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