The Regional Media segment’s revenue declined by 7.5% to MEUR 134.4 (145.2) in January–December. Online business accounted for 3.5% (2.6%) of the segment’s revenue. The effect of the Regional Media segment’s newspapers divested in 2015 on revenue was MEUR -9.8. The segment’s content revenue declined by 8.7% to MEUR 59.8 (65.5) in January–December. The effect of divested newspapers on the decrease in the segment’s content revenue was MEUR 4.7. The segment’s advertising sales declined by 9.9% to MEUR 56.3 (62.5). Advertising sales for print media decreased by 11.1%. The segment’s online advertising sales increased by 23.2% to MEUR 2.5 (2.1). The decline in national advertising has been the fastest in print media advertising sales. The effect of divested newspapers on the decrease in the segment’s advertising sales was MEUR 4.8.
The response to the decline in the profitability of print media involved cost savings, efficiency improvements and digital development.
Paid digital content, strong product development and securing profitability
The Regional Media segment made a significant move towards paid digital content. The subscriber gains access to the printed newspaper and all digital products in exchange for a single monthly fee. The segment’s newspapers in Lapland adopted the new payment structure in the summer, followed by other regional papers later in the year. For local papers, the same change will be implemented in the first half of 2016.
The responsive online publications of all Regional Media newspapers will use a new platform by spring 2016. Their mobile services will also be renewed on the same schedule. Aamulehti launched its digital afternoon edition Hetki (“Moment”) at the beginning of 2015. In addition, Aamulehti’s video service Klippi was well received during the second half of the year. Clear social media guidelines were issued for the editorial offices of Regional Media’s newspapers, and a style book was published regarding the online publication of local papers.
The Regional Media segment continued to implement the Etukeno development project, which started in 2014. The purpose of the project is to engage employees in the planning of new digital business. The Etukeno project is primarily about having a forward-moving attitude, and the Regional Media has been successful at implementing this attitudinal change.
The segment’s efforts in the area of content marketing have created new revenue. Digital advertising revenue growth has outpaced the market growth rate, with Alma Media’s network products particularly supporting new sales. The Alma network is comprised of Alma Media’s diverse online services.
In spring 2015, the Regional Media segment divested its newspaper business in Kainuu (Kainuun Sanomat and local papers). In addition to the newspapers in Kainuu, the segment also divested Koti-Lappi, Kuriiri and Hervannan Sanomat during the year. The divestment of these newspaper businesses was due to their weak profitability and low synergies with the newspaper portfolio.
The most significant structural change during the year took place in Lapland, where the operations of Lapin Kansa and Pohjolan Sanomat were merged. The combination saw Pohjolan Sanomat become a second edition of Lapin Kansa, enriched with local content. The newspapers were also shifted to a six-day publishing schedule in conjunction with the restructuring.
The profitability of Regional Media was improved not only by divestments and the restructuring in Lapland, but also by reorganising operations. Regional Media held statutory personnel negotiations in the autumn, resulting in personnel reductions amounting to approximately 70 man-years. Most of the segment’s functions were reorganised. In addition, the publication frequency of certain local papers was reduced in 2015.
Alma Manu’s printing press increased its external revenue and improved its internal efficiency. Alma Manu’s delivery operations were adjusted to market conditions, and a large number of potential new business ventures were developed, ranging from shopping bag services to parcel deliveries. Alma Manu also played an active role in the development of Jakeluyhtiö Suomi Oy, a sales and marketing company operated jointly by publishers and delivery operators.