There are now 42,000 tech companies in Sweden, 22,000 of them in the capital city. Eighteen percent of workforce in Stockholm work in high-tech – 197,000 people in total. Start-up culture and innovation were key themes of the WAN-IFRA Dagsvara conference in Stockholm. During the pre-conference start-up tour we visited some media disruptors. Do check these guys out:
Omni is a news curation service owned by Schibsted, available originally as an app and now also as a website. It won Best Mobile Service in WAN-IFRA’s European Digital Media Awards last year. Omni went live with its app in November 2013. Today, it’s the most popular news app in the Swedish app store. Its key to success lies in giving users a good overview of all (editorially chosen) news sources in one place. Omni is a mixed tech and media company, based on a home-built Tweetdeck like CMS and with editors working in a flat team. The editors, currently 10 of them working in shifts 24/7, pick stories from hundreds of news sources, writing short summaries and publishing with a link to the original source. “We try to make the summaries short; that’s core to the product,” said founder Markus Gustafsson (pictured). Through a nifty interface, the user can weight how much news he gets in his feed across six categories.
Acast makes monetising podcasts a completely different proposition. The service, which can be accessed through an app, a widget or via RSS feeds, makes it easier for users to discover podcasts – and share through social media. For publishers/podcasters the platform moves monetisation opportunities beyond hardcoded sponsor messages being read out. Through Acast, the podcaster can add rich media ads and links at any point in the podcast after recording, allowing listeners to use the full capability of the smartphone while listening. Key to the proposition is that the platform also provides the podcaster with analytics. Publishers can also embed an Acast player on their website. CEO Måns Ulvestam said publishing clients currently include The Times, Sky Sport, The Guardian, Aftonbladet and more.
United Screens is Sweden’s top MCN (multi channel network), signing up youtubers in order to help them promote and monetise their YouTube channels. United Screens sells premium ads around the videos (pre-roll + two display formats on the page), and does a rev share with the YouTuber, with the latter getting 50–80 percent depending on how much promotion and marketing United Screens undertakes. When asked about the risk of YouTube suddenly changing their terms and conditions, co-founder Malte Andreasson said that this is a small worry as YouTube is so dependent on MCNs for their revenue. A greater concern is that some other online video platform starts taking serious market share – Facebook is certainly moving in that direction.