Meet Our People in Tech

Meet our People

Ioana Havsfrid is part of Schibsted’s machine learning team. She’s working on a project that focuses on content understanding.

Looking for hidden content

”Text, video or audio – in all forms of content there is a lot of hidden information. We want to understand this underlying content within the journalism that our newspapers produce.”

With the help of machine learning the team is trying to automatically extract different kinds of information, such as people mentioned in a text, places or events, or even whether the sentiment is positive or negative on a given topic.

”That would differ in an article from Italy based on whether it’s an inspirational travel piece or if it’s about Corona”, Ioana explains.

The main reason is to develop contextual ads – where you can match commercials more in detail with specific kinds of content. New regulations and tough competition are challenging traditional advertising. This makes contextual advertising, based on targeting, an interesting alternative. But this also opens up possibilities to create more personalized subscription offers, for example. ”It’s crucial that the team knows the domain and the product, and that they read and follow to get ideas on how to apply the technology. And in our case, to work closely with the sales organization, then we can build something together.” Ioana also points out that this way of thinking is new, and that data can throw you in new directions. ”We need to explore more and explain to our organizations how these new technologies work.”

Ioana Havsfrid
Engineering manager, Machine Learning team
Years in Schibsted: 6 months
What I have missed the most during the Corona crisis: Chats by the coffee machine.

Meet Our People in Tech

A platform to integrate podcasts

Podcasts are a high priority in newsrooms – and now users can listen to them directly from Schibsted’s news sites – thanks to our new, very own platform. Erik Saastad got the assignment to investigate whether podcasts were effective in driving login and increasing willingness to subscribe on Schibsted’s news sites.

He soon realized they could – but they would need to be published directly on the sites, not only on external platforms, like A-cast or Spotify.

”To stream sound isn’t that different from streaming video, and we already had a solution for that which we could build on”, Erik explains.

For news sites such as VG and Aftonbladet, the new platform means they can publish podcasts earlier on their own sites to reach all their users and open up for more ads – and then on external platforms where the large podcast audience will find them. Aftenposten is experimenting with publishing behind their paywall to drive subscriptions. ”We have also found that we reach new users – people not that familiar with podcasts now find them”, says Erik.

Erik Saastad
Product Manager
Years in Schibsted: 8 and counting
What I have missed the most during the Corona crisis: Colleagues and drinking beer with my team in Krakow.

Privacy and data lives together

In Schibsted, using and sharing user data is a crucial part of developing new, relevant products and services. Just as important is to handle data in a responsible way to protect peoples’ privacy.

”It’s about a lot more than just being compliant. To earn our users’ trust we also want to be a driving force in finding that perfect balance between data and privacy”, says Siv Kristin Henriksen, Privacy Project Manager.

Schibsted has quite a large privacy team which has been focusing on this since the early days of GDPR. The reason is simply that Schibsted is a tech-driven company working a lot with data.

”We want to be the ones guarding and leading the way – in discussion with legislators.”

Lately Siv has been working a lot with startups that Schibsted is investing in. ”It’s super exciting to meet them. Sometimes it’s just three people having a very good idea.” She also recognizes the advantage to get help from her team, instead of turning to a larger law firm. ”We have a broader perspective and we look for possibilities because we realize both the entrepreneurs’ needs and the user perspective.”

Siv Kristin Henriksen
Legal Counsel, Privacy
Years in Schibsted: 4.5
What I have missed the most during Corona crises: My colleagues! Having lunch together, and coffee chats.