“A lot of people were calling us crazy, saying ‘What on earth are you doing? Are you really going to try to put these profiles behind a paywall?’ But we did, and it’s been working quite well. The fanbase of these podcasts is super loyal, and it’s given us a really strong base of subscribers to develop the product on,” says Kristin Ward Heimdal, Country Manager, PodMe, Norway.

How and why Schibsted came to undertake this decision offers some lessons in business strategy from a company that has repeatedly shown itself to be among the sharpest in the news industry.
Making a move
A few years ago, Kristin Ward Heimdal was working in the Strategy department of Schibsted News Media when they noticed a lot of things happening around podcasts.

“We were seeing that some of the leading production studios were being acquired by big platforms. We saw some huge exclusive content deals popping up with Spotify kind of driving that development with Joe Rogan perhaps being the most infamous,” Ward Heimdal, now Country Manager, PodMe, Norway, told participants at WAN-IFRA’s recent Digital Media Europe conference in Oslo.

“We also saw new companies popping up offering subscription models for creators and platforms like Apple and Acast signalling that they were looking into providing creators with different kinds of models for monetising podcasts than only advertising,” she continued.

These developments got Schibsted’s strategists thinking that if there really was a shift coming tow…

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