Norway's Media and Ad Community: Back to the Future. A Model for U.S. Media

11/02/2010 08:20 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jack Myers Chairman & Media Ecologist, MyersBizNet

If the American media and advertising market could clone their counterparts from another country and import them to the U.S., that country might be Norway, where I spoke last week at the Mediaforum Conference. The Norwegian media industry is both a throwback to a past age and a model for the future. Norway's economy never experienced the near-depression that pounded advertising spending globally, and media companies have successfully navigated the technological shifts of the past decade. Rather than resting on their positive growth numbers and relatively stable economy, Norwegian and other Scandinavian media houses and agencies are actively studying the impact of digital media in other parts of the world and investing to protect their long-term interests.

The Norwegian advertising and media communities are collaborating to develop and implement integrated media and marketing strategies and to advance the value of new media technologies for marketers.

Schibsted, the leading newspaper publisher, pre-empted Craigslist and launched an online classified service in Norway that quickly dominated the market and now represents the biggest online classified advertising business in Europe with services in Sweden, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Slovenia and Lithuania, plus Malaysia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. Schibsted is a model for facilitating synergies and sharing of expertise across markets for classified ad operations.

More than 150 Norwegian newspapers still deliver average daily print circulation of more than 60% of local communities, with some communities reaching more than 80%. Six hundred newspaper copies are sold for every 1,000 residents, the highest ratio in the world. All demographic segments remain active newspaper readers, even though the two most popular papers are sold exclusively by the single copy. Scandinavian-based research company RAM has expended its effectiveness research developed for Norwegian newspapers throughout Europe and into the U.S., where it provides reader insights for 100 papers including The New York Times. Two terrestrial TV networks dominate with several specialty networks reaching an estimated 80% of households via cable and satellite. Internet penetration is near-universal and mobile penetration is 120% of homes. Mobile carriers are aggressively developing advertising, scanner and commerce capabilities. Among the 400 Mediaforum attendees, fully 70% had an iPad, even though it is not yet being sold in Norway. All major newspapers, radio and television channels have active websites that are the country's most frequently accessed sources of news and information.

At the Mediaforum event, senior and mid-level executives from Norway's media and agency communities heard from several speakers on advances in marketing and cross-platform integration around the world. In my opening keynote address, I shared examples of successful collaboration between U.S. media, marketers and agencies, citing examples from MTV Networks, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting, Clear Channel and others. Mike Walsh delivered an exceptional presentation on media and marketing advances in China, Japan, Philippines and other countries, with a focus on mobile. I interviewed former Omnicom executive Steve Grubbs, who urged the Norway community to embrace integration of advertising and marketing services as an opportunity to avoid the influence of procurement on media purchasing.

Other speakers included Johnny Vulcan, founder of New York based Anamoly; Steve Simpson, CEO of Group M Business Science; and David Erixon of Russian mobile company Yota, who spoke on the integrated company.

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