SanomaWSOY's President & CEO projects that the Group's net sales during 2001 will rise faster than the Finnish media industry as a whole is expected to grow, and will increase to well over FIM 9 billion. He forecasts that the Group will record an operating profit at least as good as 2000's, despite major development-related investments and goodwill depreciation on past acquisitions.
SanomaWSOY published its year-end statement for 2000 today. The Group's net sales rose, in line with expectations, by some 10% to FIM 8.6 billion, and its profit before extraordinary items totalled FIM 822 million. This over 25% improvement was driven by improved profit performance in the Group's businesses and a good asset management result. SanomaWSOY's operating profit totalled FIM 507 million, an increase of 19% on 1999.
"Advertising revenue at both our magazines and newspapers rose significantly, and Channel Four Finland also clearly increased its share of the advertising market. WSOY's fiction publishing had a particularly good year, and Rautakirja's core businesses developed excellently," says CEO Jaakko Rauramo.
"Our target is to generate at least 20% of our net sales outside Finland by 2003 and increase net sales to some FIM 15 billion by 2005," continues Rauramo, outlining the Group's key financial targets.
"These are tough challenges, but we are committed to achieving them. Operating across a broad band of media segments, we are well-placed to grow and deliver on this commitment. Our strong financial position makes us a very competitive player, especially now that the worst excesses of the recent market hype have died down. As a result, I believe that we will be even better-placed, as we move forward, to make the right, major strategic moves at the right time."
NEED TO REASSESS THE ROLE OF PUBLIC SERVICES
CEO Rauramo describes the prospects for 2001 as relatively good on the Finnish market. The continued uncertainty about how the world of new media is ultimately going to develop, and about what digital-TV will bring, however, needs to be recognised, he says.
"Digital-TV, due to be officially launched in August 2001, is likely to play only a small role in Finland over the next two to three years. At the same time, the investments from companies such as ours will be needed up-front, and represent a major financial commitment. As SanomaWSOYs digital-TV strategy is based wholly on the pay-TV principle, however, we believe that the financial burden on us will be substantially less than the industry average."
Rauramo believes that it is in the interest of all those in the industry that the role of public services be re-evaluated rapidly, and that the license fee system, which currently acts to distort competition between various providers, be completely rethought.
Over the long term, there is no doubt that new media and new technology are going to have a major impact on the media world, believes Rauramo.
"The question that the industry is now addressing is how to make new media truly profitable. I believe that it can be done by drawing on the traditional skills of providing the right kind of quality content and delivering the right level of professionalism. Technology, after all, is only the medium, it cannot replace content."