Schibsted Explores Carrier Billing Model

The Scandinavian media house Schibsted is set to offer its readers more options to consume its digital content. Online subscription for one of the largest Swedish newspapers, Aftonbladet Plus, can now be purchased via mobile carrier billing. The way it would serve users is that they can buy digital content by adding the cost of a purchase directly to their mobile phone bill.

Why carrier billing?

While almost everyone in the Nordics and Baltics has a credit card and access to bank-based payments, this is not the same for emerging markets. Schibsted operates many different brands across multiple markets, in some of which credit cards are extremely rare and new paying users can be captured through carrier billing instead. The new payment model may attract more customers, especially in emerging markets, where most consumers do not have access to traditional payment methods and where carrier billing is simpler and more secure than cards. Plus, it is a good way for Schibsted to experiment with various payment models.

Johanna Sigdell, Head of Customer Experience at Aftonbladet commented that “easy and convenient payment methods are critical to [our] business and success. We do not only ensure the preferred payment method for a large number of subscribers; it also allows us to continue to optimize our payment methods in the future.

Carrier billing for digital content payments is often preferred among Western consumers too, thanks to its simplicity and security. Users do not need to create or log into any accounts, nor do they need to share personal information online. Payments are completed in a few clicks and only the user’s phone number is processed.

According to Business Insider, carrier billing powers $3 billion in mobile transactions or 12% of the global market for mobile digital content. In Western Europe, a market share for carrier billing in the digital content domain is 13.6%, with bank cards being at 27.5% and digital wallets at 26.9%, according to SuperData Research.

The new payment method is made possible by Estonian company Fortumo, which offers bundling, carrier billing and messaging solutions for app stores and digital service providers all over the world. The company already works with big-name clients, such as Facebook, Google, Spotify, Electronic Arts and having Schibsted on board gives them a new edge.

Fortumo Team with former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Schibsted launched carrier billing through Fortumo’s Payments API, which gives the company full control over the payment flow and enables features of carrier billing such as token-based charging, dynamic pricing, and automated refunds. The company believes that carrier billing will stimulate revenue growth for both, mobile operators and digital content providers.

Carrier billing could offer an alternative revenue stream to media houses if it reduces friction for users that don´t use or cannot use current alternatives to pay for content. It would be exciting to see how the new payment method performs for Aftonbladet in Sweden and Schibsted globally and whether it opens access to new customers,” commented Janina Glasemann, co-founder of Media Honeypot.