The difference of being number one and number four

EFN TV has for second year in a row been awarded with Hallvarsson & Halvarsson’s price for the best Radio & TV media in Sweden, in competition with Swedish public service Radio (SR), and TV (SVT) as well as TV4 – and Dagens Industri’s TV-channel, DiTV, who came in fourth.

One could quite frankly argue the validity of the research method that led to the result, but on the other hand, the fact is that this is not a one-time occurrence. Similar polls on Twitter, with even more participants has also led to the same conclusion – namely that DiTV, and any other Radio and TV-media in the vast media landscape of Sweden, can’t compete with EFN when it comes to pure economic news reporting.

However, this is an embarrassment for everyone, because EFN TV is owned and operated by one of Sweden’s largest banks.

Ever since its inception, in 2013, all established media has tried to diminish EFN by using a plethora of suppression tactics, such as constantly naming it Handelsbanken TV. The editors in chief for almost every large Swedish newspaper have, on its blogs and editorial pages, had distinct views on how frail and distasteful the concept of corporate owned media is.

Their paradigm is that only the media that is funded by a multitude of advertisers is legit, and can be truly independent. Another, opposing position is that the ad-funded concept is out-dated – and in effect non functional. Just one perspective of how dysfunctional it is, is how the advertising makes the user experience almost jokingly bad. It is covering somewhere of 50-80% of the screen real estate. To view a single clip of content, one has to view 30-60 seconds of commercials. The viewer and consumer’s, is about to have enough of this abuse of their time and sanity.

The underlying narrative of established economic news media is fundamentally to create distress and uncertainty, in order to generate clicks. Quite in the same way war and terror works hand in hand with tabloid journalism, the daily news media is trying to persuade consumers that only they stand on their side – when in fact, banks have as much, or maybe even more to gain from well, and correctly informed consumers than the tabloid.

EFN on the other hand functions differently – and has provided a blueprint for how journalism within different segments could be funded and maintained in the future. Their owners – Handelsbanken – make one decision, yearly to fund high quality economic journalism. It shares it with as many viewers as it possibly can, without renouncing the quality and integrity of the content – because it doesn’t have to. It is already fully funded.

While tabloids are fighting for ad pennies, selling out their readers value for profits, EFN are handed a yearly fund to provide the public with guidance and a basis for sound and well ordered personal finances.

The opposing business model has one mission that it has to complete every day. It is to draw as many viewers as possible to its platforms, to ensure that their advertisers keep on buying their eyeballs. Which in turn leads them to favour the advertiser rather than the consumers. Whatever they say. Expressen’s, Aftonbladet’s and DiTV’s customer is the ad buyer, not the reader.

This of course is obvious to anyone with the least insight in to how media works. They are stuck in their business model, which is shrinking on all ends, so what they come up with is to bully any new progressive way of financing media and content. I suppose they to realise that once their users find enough ad free alternatives, they wont go back to their dysfunctional, ad-swamped UX-nightmares.

What all this means is that we are not even competitors in the true meaning of the word. We are not competing for their ad-pennies, if anything we are competing for viewers, but we have confidence that once they find EFN – they will see its qualities and stay.

Long term the ad-funded journalism model as is sits today is in panic. Moving in to web-TV, production cost increase and ads continue to get cheaper, I have a really hard time understanding the endurance of the model. Instead, now more than ever, I find it important to have an honest and untainted discussion of the future of journalism, and how it can be funded and supported.

Clearly there is an alternative where a corporation can fund high quality economic journalism benefitting all parties.

Full disclosure; i’m the former CEO and currently act as a member of the board of directors of EFN AB.