Business

A new look to bring our story out

Schibsted’s story began in the 1830s when a Norwegian printer lost a costumer – and started a newspaper. Today Schibsted is an international family of leading media brands, sustainable marketplaces and smart digital services with more than 40 brands and 780 million visits each month. Now it’s time to take on a role as a more visible actor in society – with the support of a new visual profile.

The story began with a challenge turned into an opportunity. When Christian Schibsted lost an important customer in his printing office he founded a newspaper. In 1861 the paper was renamed Aftenposten – which has since been a leading Norwegian newspaper. When he stepped into the news business, Christian Schibsted made a decision that today affects more than 5 000 employees.

Leading news brands like VG in Norway, Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden are now part of the Schibsted family, as are the marketplaces Finn in Norway, Blocket in Sweden and Tori in Finland. Not to mention a range of digital consumer brands focusing on empowering consumers and making peoples’ everyday life easier. Brands like Lendo, Compricer, Bynk and Kundkraft are just a few examples.

In many ways, the beginning of Schibsted has shaped the company. Schibsted is a lot about taking on challenges and finding new opportunities. Not least when news went online, and today when new competitors are playing by new rules. Curiosity and innovation have always been a key to success, as has the ambition to understand peoples’ needs and develop ideas and products with the help of new technology.

And not least – in Schibsted we are always asking ourselves how we can contribute to a sustainable and democratic future.

Just like Christian Schibsted did when he moved into the newspaper business. This was also a statement – standing up for democracy and freedom of speech.

The legacy of two entrepreneurs

In 1878 Christian Schibsted bought a building in Akersgata 51 in central Oslo where Aftenposten stayed until 2003. Just across the street, in number 55, both Aftenposten and Verdens Gang have their newsrooms today. VG is a member of the Schibsted family since 1966 and today the largest paper in Norway with 2,4 million daily readers. Its story is a drama in itself – founded by war heroes in the summer of 1945, it’s the paper that united Norway.

In Stockholm Christian Schibsted had a counterpart in Lars Johan Hierta. He was also an entrepreneur, fighting for democracy and freedom of speech. He founded Aftonbladet in 1830 and had to renew the license to publish the paper several times when the King tried to shut it down. Today Aftonbladet is the largest paper in Sweden – reaching almost four million users every day – and a digital pioneer, creating aftonbladet.se already in 1994.

It took a while before the legacies of the two entrepreneurs, Schibsted and Hierta, came together, but in 1996 Schibsted bought Aftonbladet. Today the newsroom is located in the Schibsted building in central Stockholm, together with Svenska Dagbladet, bought by Schibsted in 1998. When the Swedish papers joined, the family had already grown through a collaboration with the Norwegian regional papers Bergens Tidende, Stavanger Aftenblad and Fædrelandsvennen (the latter sold in September 2019).

The Stockholm building also contains the next chapters of the Schibsted story: the marketplace Blocket and a range of digital startup companies. The marketplace era started with the ambition to rethink media business. When classified ads went online to other competitors than the Schibsted newspapers, a new Schibsted company was founded – the Norwegian marketplace finn.no.

“The idea was not that well received in the advertising organizations since we were competing with our own newspapers. But the management knew something had to be done”, says Terje Seljeset, who led the Finn-project, launched in year 2000.

Today every Norwegian spends 21 hours at the site every year, on average. To win the Swedish classified market Schibsted bought Blocket in 2003 – and then the export began.

“We actually had the Blocket code on DVD-discs and left for Paris”.

Martin Frey, former CEO of Blocket was there when the international export of Schibsted marketplaces started. In a small room in the back of the newsroom of 20 minutes in Paris (which Schibsted then owned) Martin, a few colleagues from Blocket and a French team set up what was to become a French national icon – the marketplace Leboncoin, launched in 2006. France, and a similar site in Spain, was only the beginning, marketplace clones in Europe, Asia and South America soon followed, at the most Schibsted owned marketplaces in more than 20 countries.

Today the Nordic marketplaces Finn, Blocket and Tori are still part of Schibsted, while the other marketplaces have been spun off into the multinational marketplace company Adevinta. The split was carried out to make the best out of the two different companies, but there is still a strong connection – Schibsted is the majority owner of Adevinta.

Investing in startups

There’s also another story starting with Blocket – the lookout for innovative digital services and startups. Schibsted Growth invests in and supports innovative companies that address challenges we have in our day-to-day lives. The Growth team help founders and teams establish their products and scale their business and the portfolio includes companies like Lendo, Prisjakt, Kundkraft, Let’s Deal, Hypoteket and Ahum, all together more than 40 brands. Lendo is the largest, growing fast, with operations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Austria and Poland. The service compares fees and interest rates from different banks to give the customers the best alternative.

“Through Schibsted we can continue to find new potential business fields. We still control the company but have chosen Schibsted as our investor to get across to great input and network”, says Carl-Johan Nordquist, one of the founders of Hypoteket. Their idea is to offer competitive mortgages.
Schibsted Growth is part of a division called Schibsted Next which also has a team that is rethinking media. They experiment, analyze and develop new independent products to complement and strengthen Schibsted’s core media business.

All of these brands within media, marketplace and digital services have always been the heroes in the Schibsted story starting with Aftenposten. They are the ones providing products and services that the end users use and relate to. But at the same time things are changing. Today social media giants are new tough competitors and the need to cooperate and have a strong common foundation within a company like Schibsted is crucial – and a great opportunity. We also want to be clear about what Schibsted stands for and carry on the heritage from Christian Schibsted. That’s why we will build the Schibsted brand both internally and externally even stronger, so that it will become more visible.

To do so we have a new visual profile. A new logotype that is a wordmark – the full company name – is of course a center piece in this identity. The dots in the logo’s capital ”S” also contains the concept behind the design – ”a unifying force”. The visual profile also consists of a new symbol, new brand colors, new fonts and more. All tools to get the Schibsted story out.

So, the heritage from Christian Schibsted is very much alive. In Schibsted we are entrepreneurs with the wish to empower people in their daily lives, to support them to make sustainable choices – and to always deliver trustworthy news, a foundation for our democratic society.

NAME: Ann Axelsson

TITLE: Senior Project Manager Strategic Communications and Editor of Future Report

YEARS IN SCHIBSTED: 21

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