The avisen.dk fairytale keeps evolving these days. Once the digital version of the double-free printed newspaper Nyhedsavisen, avisen.dk was launched with bells and whistles three years ago, promising to change the power-balance between journalists and users, empowering the latter in what from Nyhedsavisen was meant as a general attack on the established Danish newspaper world. The comming of Nyhedsavisen sparked the socalled “free newspaper war” which ended exactly a year ago, the 1. of september 2008, with Nyhedsavisen finally being declared bankrupt and the established newspapers – especially JP/Politiken newspaper group – having suffered substantial losses.
Last week – on september 1, actually – avisen.dk was relaunched after having 12 months of stand-alone, newswire-powered existence in the realms of Danish social networking conglomorate Freeway. The relaunch followed a reconstruction of the avisen.dk ownership, with the media-company of the Danish labour movement, a-pressen, stepping up next to Freeway with a 50-percent ownership share.
With the relauch of avisen.dk Denmark has gotten itself a new news-website, claiming ownership of a new category focusing on what-happens-on-the-job journalism. We want to do for the on-the-job expericences what consumer journalism has done for the shopping-experiences, says head of avisen.dk Rasmus Emborg, pointing at recent successes of how-to guides consumer journalism.
Discussing the somewhat odd partnership between Freeway and a-pressen – between internet liberalist entrepreneurs and workers unions – the parties have focused on the match-winning potentials of having acces to the social networking sites of Freeway and their ability to and experience with building traffic to external sites.
The question, however, is how the mix works. That is: exactly which kind of stories does avisen.dk plan to do – and are these stories really that appealing to the generally very young userbase of the social networking-sites of Freeway, that Freeway will succeed in building traffic for avisen.dk?
Judging from the first weeks new avisen.dk, no clear answer can be given. With stories like “nurses sex-hunted on the internet” about patients harrassing nurses through sites like Facebook or “Activated with the signature of Hitler” about how a jobtraining course for unemployed included sesssions in analyzing the handwritting of dictators as a getting-t0-know-yourself better element the category isn’t exactly clear to me. Especially I’m a little confused by the mix of tabloid-style Hitler/Sex stuff and the more serious subject of the articles in question, on-job-safety and how best to educate unemployed to get back to work.
Likewise it’s hard to testify to the ability of Freeway to draw traffic to avisen.dk.
The rather poor performance of avisen.dk last week relative to the same week last year is hardly a fair way of judging the new initiative. But no conclusive numbers turns up either when looking at avisen.dk in isolation for the past 10 weeks, either. Traffic has been fluctuation back and forth a little leaving no clear trend to be interpreted upon.
Read on – more graphs, facts, analysis, background and methodology – here:
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I covered Nyhedsavisen, avisen.dk and the Danish free newspaper war in a series of posts, most recently Wrap-up: The Danish Free Newspaper War in a “Free” perspective