“Our income from digital subscriptions was about 500 million Norwegian Kroner two years ago. Zuora’s platform has contributed to reaching the 1 billion mark this year.” – Fredrik Schjold, Head of Consumer Business Technology, Schibsted

Company Schibsted ASA
Industry Media

The Customer

Schibsted, a global media company based in Norway, owns and operates newspapers, online classified advertisement websites, publishing houses, and other multimedia services.

The Challenge

At the time, Schibsted was using four different platforms to manage subscriptions, preventing them from leveraging synergies across their family of businesses.

The Solution

With Zuora’s help, Schibsted is working on consolidating all of its subscription management onto one platform. The ambition is to enable them to operate one billing, customer service, and market automation system across brands.

The Benefits

With Zuora, Schibsted has been able to quickly onboard new services, automate rev rec processes, reduce churn through an improved dunning process, and achieve greater efficiencies which have helped to contribute to massive growth: from 500 million NOK in 2018 to 1 billion NOK in 2020.

“We no longer need to manually assess how many subscriptions we have with terms longer than one month which need to have revenue recognized over a longer period of time. With Zuora, we know it automatically.” – Carl Friberg, Product Manager, Subscriptions, Schibsted

Schibsted, founded in 1839, is the largest media group in Scandinavia. A longtime leader in news, Schibsted has, in recent years, expanded into e-marketplaces and other online consumer services. The company was an early and aggressive player in the digital space, moving online as early as 1995 and sticking with this strategy through the ups and downs of the early Internet.

This digital strategy paid off, with Schibsted achieving consistent growth and a strong market position during an era when many legacy news businesses struggled. The company continued to be forward-thinking in the early 2010s, recognizing that an ad-driven model for the news business was not sustainable. In 2012, they began locking down some content behind a paywall, and the paid subscription model has been growing ever since. They also began offering subscriptions for other services like e-marketplaces, which provide an online space for small businesses to sell their products.

Subscription success, however, brought new challenges. Different brands were using different platforms to manage their subscriptions, and even the print and digital versions of the same paper were sometimes managed separately. These subscription siloes made for a fragmented customer experience that prevented Schibsted from leveraging the synergies that should flow naturally from being a large group of companies.

“We didn’t have the control we needed,” explains Fredrik Schjold, Head of Consumer Business Technology at Schibsted. “We needed one unified platform that was flexible and scalable—and digitally native.”

Schibsted needed the right partner to help them consolidate. So they turned to Zuora.

Zuora became an important piece of Schibsted’s centralized News Revenue system that provided one source of truth for billing subscription management, including payments, dunning, customer service, and billing automation. The Zuora platform was flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual brand while ensuring that all the brands were speaking the same language. So far, the company has migrated 494,586 active subscribers onto the platform, a YoY increase from 2019 of 582%.

Zuora has also changed the game in terms of subscription revenue recognition. “Before Zuora, we received payments from payment service providers and tracked them in Excel,” says Carl Friberg, Product Manager of Subscriptions at Schibsted. “Now that process is automated through Zuora—right out of the box.”

And not only is the accounting much clearer, but Zuora Workflows has leveled up the dunning process, which has helped reduce churn and drive revenue.

Having a flexible platform has also enabled Schibsted to onboard new services more quickly. With Zuora, the launch for new subscription brands, like weight watching service Vektklubb and news aggregator Omni, was accomplished in just one month.

In the three years since deploying Zuora, digital subscription revenue has doubled from 500 million NOK to 1 billion NOK in 2020. “Growth has been escalating,” says Schjold. “And Zuora has been an important part of that.”

And as Schibsted continues to migrate all businesses onto Zuora, they look forward to greater efficiencies and continued growth.

“Consolidating on the Zuora platform gave us the capability to leverage growth initiatives across brands and products.” – Carl Friberg, Product Manager, Subscriptions, Schibsted

“Zuora has become the main platform for handling subscription-based businesses across all of Schibsted. We’re going to be able to give our e-marketplaces a flying start.” – Fredrik Schjold, Head of Consumer Business Technology, Schibsted

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