In 2015, the Digital Consumer Services segment’s revenue was MEUR 61.7 (55.8), up 10.5 percent. Revenue from the recruitment business increased by 20.5 percent and accounted for 73.6 percent (67.5 percent) of the segment’s revenue in 2015. In the segment, revenue growth was highly profitable as operating profit excluding non-recurring items grew by 47 per cent from the previous year. The most significant factor in the improved result was the strong development of the recruitment business outside of Finland. Revenue for operations outside Finland increased by 18 percent to MEUR 39.9. Marketplace business operations in Finland remained approximately at the previous year’s level at MEUR 22.
Recruitment business operations constitute a major part of Alma Media’s international operations. Most of Alma Media’s recruitment business operations companies are market leaders in online recruitment in their respective areas. Economic growth and a thriving labour market in Eastern Central Europe supported the development of Alma Media’s digital recruitment business operations in 2015. In its international operations, Alma Media invested in the future by hiring new employees, particularly in sales, and by making additional investments in marketing. Alma Media ran image campaigns to make its subsidiaries in Poland and Hungary more recognisable. Jobseeker activity was encouraged by marketing operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Of the countries in which Alma Media operates, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have recorded the highest economic growth rates within the EU in recent years. It has become evident that strong economic growth and a vibrant labour market have reduced jobseeker activity and the number of job applications.
In 2015, the segment improved the usability of its digital services, made many of its marketplace websites responsive and introduced websites designed for mobile and tablet devices. The reforms were well received among users and advertisers alike.
Adding service into media business
For a long time, the Digital Consumer Services segment has been providing clients with business management tools and services, in addition to offering media advertising opportunities. Real-estate agents have access to a brokering system and information services. Recruitment business operations have invested in HR consulting and recruitment systems, amongst other things. Through acquisitions, the selection has been expanded to cover ERP systems for the automotive trade. Our purpose is to further expand our selection.
In 2015, Alma Mediapartners, a subsidiary of Alma Media, enhanced its offering for the automotive trade by acquiring Autosofta, a supplier of web-based systems. This made Alma Mediapartners one of the largest system suppliers for Finland’s automotive trade and the largest supplier of web-based systems in the country. At the beginning of 2016, Alma Mediapartners acquired a minority stake in AutoJerry, a company providing quoting services for the cost of car maintenance.
Business operations related to housing and living were expanded to cover housing information services in addition to a residential housing marketplace. At the beginning of 2016, AlmaMediapartners acquired a controlling interest in Raksa ja KotiKauppa Oy. The company provides ERP systems for construction and renovation. Its NettiKoti service will be integrated into Etuovi.com service. Several upgrades to the Etuovi.com residential housing marketplace were completed during 2015.
The Marketplaces business unit introduced an entirely new service called Gofinland.fi, a compilation of services and experiences aimed at people looking for holiday cottages to rent. In addition to holiday rentals, the site helps visitors search for holiday activities. Its future goals include attracting foreign travellers to Finland.
The Alma Diverso unit was closed in 2015. It was previously reported in the Digital Consumer Services segment. Its operations have now been integrated into Alma Media’s other operational segments.