Expanded interview with Theo Blanco
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In the past year, Sweden's Upsala Nya Tidning (daily circulation approximately 52,000) has launched five print products. The new publications are all heavily local and focus on the following topics: lifestyle, motoring, real estate, travel, and there is also a daily freesheet called "18 minutes."
Each product has a different publication cycle, from the Monday-Friday free paper to the six times a year travel magazine. Most of the publications have very small editorial teams of just two or three people. This helps to keep costs down and allows for higher profit margins, which typically range from 20 percent for the motoring magazine to a high of 265 percent for the real estate magazine, according to Theo Blanco, senior sales and marketing director for Upsala Nya Tidning. He added that even the free daily has had a profit margin of 50 percent from its first day of publication.
“When a business window opens you have to take it,” Blanco said in late September at WAN-IFRA's "Managing the Crisis" Conference in London. “I always say: ‘Make money now,’” he said. “We don’t see this as a crisis period; we see it as a transition period.”
Here, Blanco tells us more about how these new publications operate.
WAN-IFRA: How are the publications distributed?
Theo Blanco: The lifestyle magazine is distributed both with the paper and separately at shopping centres and cafes, etc. The motoring one is distributed with the paper and to all car dealerships, repair shops, tire shops and so on. With the real estate magazine, we do a total distribution on Saturdays and that goes to all the households, all the apartments in both Upsala and the surrounding counties. There isn’t a house missed with that publication. That discludes rental properties: just if you’re buying or selling your house. Those are the people we are trying to get.
WAN-IFRA: Are the staff working only for the individual products or are they dividing their time between the specialised publications and Upsala Nya Tidning?
Blanco: The staff is mainly dedicated to these products. In the case of "18 minutes," the free newspaper, the staff is strictly dedicated to that. The lifestyle's publication staff is just dedicated to that. The car and travel publications are outsourced, and with the real estate publication, they work both for the newspaper and for that. That is their big thing every week, but they also do some work for the paper.
WAN-IFRA: You mentioned outsourcing just now, how does that work?
Blanco: In the case of the motoring publication, we contract out to an agency that produces the content using freelancers who are well known in the auto industry. They do the whole thing for us. We just fill in the ads. We pay for the content. With the other outsourced one, about travel, our national sales team, which is based in Stockholm -- they're the sales team for seven of the main newspapers in Sweden, of which we are one -- puts together this national supplement and they fill it with national ads, and we fill it with local advertisers, and that works out very well for us. Our national team is also selling on all of our papers.
WAN-IFRA: Do you have plans to start up any more of these kinds of publications?
Blanco: Actually, we do: A food one, not about restaurants, but about nutrition and cooking and recipes, which will come out quarterly -- not too often.
This interview was conducted by Brian Veseling, WAN-IFRA's senior editor for Publishing, Editorial and General Management.