I’m gone two days and another community has been bought! Hopeless. If your Swedish is decent you can read the newspaper VK´s own story, they are the ones buying. In short they paid 10 million SEK for half of a local youth community called Apberget.se. There’s been a lot of this going on lately, as you will have noticed if you follow my blog.
Personally, I think it’s an act of desperation. Not necessarily a mistake, but probably a decision made out of fear rather than foresight. Why? Well, a few years ago an online classifieds site called Blocket.se started to gain traction. A Swedish Craigslist if you wish, even if the two sites are radically different. The impact they made was pretty much the same.
Blocket.se basically killed the market for classified ads in print. And Swedish newspapers didn’t see it coming. Not one bit. Since then, they’ve been trying to make up for it through all manner of projects and sites. Some have been moderately successful, but nothing has even come close to Blocket.se.
I think Swedish newspapers today are scared that they will make the same mistake again. So scared in fact, that they’re willing to pay serious money just to make sure that they don’t.
Youth communites differ from online classifieds in one crucial aspect – the classifieds took money from the newspapers. These communities don’t, and can’t. They are aimed for a demographic that the newspapers never really had anyway. So worrying about making a new Blocket-mistake isn’t really relevant. It is, on the other hand, uplifting to see that newspapers are doing a sincere effort to reach people under 40. It’s was a long time since they did well in that arena.