Alma Media is moving forward with a two-pronged strategy: the company is improving the competitiveness and maintaining the profitability of its publishing operations while also growing its digital service business. In the background, there is also a long-term move towards a multimedia approach to publishing operations, with content being differentiated and packaged in different distribution channels according to user needs. This requires investment in developing competence and IT capacity throughout the organisation. As media user groups and consumer needs become increasingly diverse, sustainable media business must be as versatile as possible to respond to the varied needs of the market.
Substantial investments in publishing operations
The printing press in Tampere was Alma Media’s largest single investment in 2012. The new printing press aims to ensure that Alma Media’s business operations based on print newspapers retain their vitality and that printing operations remain competitive and cost-efficient going forward. The new, environmentally certified printing press will also be more eco-efficient than before. The total value of the investment in the printing facility and machines is approximately MEUR 70. Production will be moved to the new printing facility gradually during the first quarter of 2013.
Alma Media also started significant multi-year investments in operational information systems. As many of the information systems currently used by Alma Media were originally designed to support print publication operations, their renewal plays a key role in adapting to the new business environment. The new information systems will create opportunities for improving the effectiveness of internal processes and customer relationship management.
Efficiency boosted by new operating model for regional and local newspapers
The formation of Alma Regional Media, consisting of regional and local papers, and the development of a new operating model along with joint editorial teams is aimed at substantially reducing duplications of effort. The renewal is intended to reallocate resources to preserve local journalism in the changing operating environment. The combination of resources helps produce quality content on topics of interest to all readers, which also enables a focus on genuinely local journalism. The renewal of the operating model also involves content cooperation with external partners. Cooperation with other newspapers, such as those of Ilkka Group, is set to begin gradually in early 2013. The cooperation aims to improve the journalistic quality of the newspapers involved, improve operating efficiency, expedite development measures and increase editorial reciprocity.
Acquisitions expedited internationalisation and the growth of digital service provision
In 2012, Alma Media’s Marketplaces unit concluded a number of acquisitions that are significant for the Group’s digital growth strategy. The acquired businesses, most of which are based in Eastern Central Europe, are primarily focused on recruitment services. In 2012, 11% of Alma Media’s revenue came from international operations, compared to 5% in 2011. The employee structure has also changed substantially as a result of the acquisitions. At the end of 2012, altogether 585 employees (excl. deliverers), i.e. as much as some 30% of Alma Media's personnel, were based outside Finland (2011: approximately 14%).
More digital business operations: Alma Diverso
Alma Media’s new digital business service and development unit, Alma Diverso, began its operations in the beginning of 2012. The unit plays a central role in the development and production of the Group’s digital media capacity, know-how and digital services. Alma Diverso’s tasks include accelerating Alma Media’s digital business growth, developing various network products for online advertising, monitoring, increasing and improving the quality of the visitor traffic of online services and increasing the earnings of the unit’s own business operations. In 2012, Alma Diverso focused particularly on developing online advertising products.
Kauppalehti – a pioneer in paid digital content
Kauppalehti implemented an extensive overall renewal of its print newspaper and took a pioneering role in the Finnish market by making a strategic move toward paid digital media content. Kauppalehti’s renewal was the first step for Alma Media Group’s publishing operations towards an operating model based on providing media consumers with reliable, ethically produced journalism via their preferred channels.