Interface Strategies. Internet and the Business of Large Swedish Daily Newspapers
Doctoral thesis, 2003
The dissertation analyses how large daily newspapers in Sweden have used the Internet in business. The focus is put on the managerial challenge of handling the Internet as a new distribution technology in the newspaper world.
Three of the most important changes that newspaper companies are faced with when going on-line are the intensified competition for peoples attention, the possibility for the newspaper to serve smaller communities more accurately, and the need for newspapers to handle two distribution forms at the same time.
The dissertation presents a model over newspaper companies strategies in this new setting, to facilitate understanding of the phenomenon. The strategies are in the model described as consisting of attention generating mechanisms, the upholding and strengthening of community relations, and the composition of the information service bundles that newspaper companies offer their customers. The character of each component together with the relation between them defines what in the dissertation is called the interface strategy. The goal of interface strategies is to achieve cognitive dominance in the communities that the newspapers serve with information. Cognitive dominance is introduced in the dissertation as a description of the strategic goal on a market for information goods such as the Internet.
Interface strategies are focused on the way companies relate to their customers. The new technology makes a closer relation to the customers possible. It is in the dissertation argued that this developed relation between the newspapers and the customer communities is useful during periods of industrial change since the company, if the interface is managed successfully, has the possibility of changing together with the customer.
The research for the dissertation was made with a number of different qualitative methods (e.g. case studies). It builds on observations from seventeen newspapers, of these ten of the eleven largest Swedish daily newspapers.