Probably the most expected acquisition so far happened today, Allers has bought BlogSoft. No figures announced yet unfortunately. Allers are starting to get an increasing web presence this way, recently buying the portal Spray.se as well.
It’s interesting to watch what different strategies the Swedish media groups are applying in order to to catch up with the new internet. Short summary:
* Schibsted, with several in-house developed services, is the most successful when it comes to traffic at least. Not particularly innovative in their choices always, but successful still the same. Gives the impression of having a central and coherent internet strategy.
* Bonnier runs a very decentralized group making it difficult to implement central strategies. Has ownership of several of the largest sites in Sweden, mainly major, and tradional, media houses that can push for their online edition through current channels. (Disclaimer for transparency: I work for several Bonnier clients)
What I lack in all the of the above is vision. Buying out sites that are top 25 on the KiaIndex isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s the same logic as media companies have always had – if you can’t beat em, buy em. But catching up on the new internet is much wider than that – why aren’t these companies investing in technology for instance? Media only ever seems to look at other media. That’s their main problem, in my opinion. If they spent a tenth of their time looking at other areas of business instead the Swedish media climate would be considerably more interesting, and profitable as well.
And the specific Allers-BlogSoft case? Well, someone was bound to buy them sooner or later. I was surprised that it was Allers though, I must say. If Allers plays their cards right, I think this could be a good investment. But they have to be careful – the bloggers at Blogg.se are not the tech-savvy professional types and have not chosen the blog hosting for any other reason than their domain name and/or convenience. There is no sense of community what so ever. Therefore they aren’t loyal in the same way followers of some other sites are, like for instance Threadless. If all Allers does is fill the site with advertising without continuously developing their services, the way their bloggers want it to be developed, they are going to be left with a very expensive and empty shell.