I just had lunch with Tor Arne Fanghol, who’s the editor in charge of the internet section of Bergens Tidende, the local newspaper. It was really interesting hearing about their thoughts for the web newspape. Some interesting facts:

  • They publish about 100,000 copies of the paper newspaper, but each paper is read by 2-3 people, so they figure they have about 200,000 or more readers every day. That sounds kind of high since there are only about 250,000 people in Bergen, but people read it in areas around Bergen too, and Norwegians really do read a lot of newspapers.
  • The web edition has hits from about 55,000 unique computers (based on their IP numbers) daily. If you assume many of these unique computers are used by more than one person, that would lead to more readers than unique hits. (I’m going to start calculating my actual readership like that too!)
  • They considered limiting access to the website in order to make web readers buy the paper newspaper. Luckily, they first surveyed non-subscribing readers. They found that many of these readers did read bt.no, but when asked what they’d do if they didn’t have access to as much content on bt.no, the readers didn’t say “buy the paper newspaper” as the journalists had expected, but rather “I’d go read a different website.” Rather obvious, especially in retrospect, and it certainly contradicts common assumptions by the media.
  • They now make money off the web edition through ads, although up until fairly recently, the web edition lost money. They expect revenues from advertising on the web edition will increase more than costs in producing the web edition, but right now income is quite modest.
  • They’re planning to do a lot more interesting stuff on the web edition next year.

It was excellent having lunch with a journalist (well, editor, really) who wasn’t interviewing me. Interviews are great, of course, and certainly very useful (Tor Arne knew I was right up the hill from him because he read the interview with me last weekend) but exchanges of ideas are really more satisfying. Also, lunch was most excellent.

9 thoughts on “lunch with a web editor

  1. Gro

    Jill, today does the pink column (?) on the right side
    cover quite a lot of the interesting things you write
    in the middle. (the white column).

  2. Anonymous

    nÂr er sensur for HUIN105?

  3. Scott

    Interesting — while the paper cirulation to readership correlation is probably close to correct (though I’d guess it’s probably more like 1.5 readers per paper), my guess is that there probably aren’t many more readers than there unique IPs. I’ve always assumed that there are slightly fewer readers than unique visitors. While there are some public terminals in places such as internt cafes and libraries, there are also a lot of people who use different computers at home and at work.

  4. Tor Arne(paying for the lunch)

    First of all: The lunch was great! I’m a blogging novise, and learnt a lot from Jill. I was interested in how bloggers look upon us, the established medias, entering the blog-world, and we had a interesting discussion concluding (in my mind) that our role isn’t really problematic.
    To Scott: Internet reading are measured by polls in Norway. Exact the same as newspaper reading. The results of these polls tell us that we have 1,6 readers behind each unique vistor. For newspapers the factor (circulation vs readers) in Norway is between 2,5 and 3!! So assuming there are less readers than UV on the internet i think is wrong. There are a lot more computers being used by several persons than persons using several computers.
    PS! Jill invited me networking monthly with people working with new media in Bergen. Exciting! Pity the next happening is in september.

  5. Jill

    That’s interesting, I hadn’t realised that the number of readers was based on polls rather than simply looking at the hits on the website. Cool!

  6. Hjorthen

    1.6 readers behind each uniqe visitor might not be
    correct for my little blog (or this one) but it is
    probably correct for a newspaper like BT. I have
    noticed that the computers at my work all have the
    same IP, and thats 8 PCs, that are used by 8-12 people
    each day. Maybe not all of them read BT online, but some
    of us do;-) Imagine then the larger workplaces like Bergen
    Kommune, they probably also have several computers hooked
    up to the same IP?

  7. Asgeir

    For most corporations, transparent or explicit proxies are used between each employee’s computer and the Internet.

    For my employer, all 12,000 employees are hidden between four (or five) proxies.

    The same occurs, in a much smaller scale of course, for everyone using some kind of broadband router or internet connection sharing.

  8. Asgeir

    Not between, ofcourse. Behind!

    Jill: How about a preview button?

  9. Jill

    Sure, if you program it for me, you can have a preview button 😉

    I mean yeah, I agree. Maybe later when I go template hacking. And definitely interesting points about number of actual readers per IP address.

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