lunch with a web editor
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.