Sanoma’s year 2016

Pekka Ala-Pietilä:

The world around us is changing rapidly. It is something we have to factor in when reviewing the past year or looking towards the future. We are also an active player in this changing world.

In terms of content, media and education – the two sectors in which Sanoma operates – have a significant impact on the development and the dialogue in the society. We make a difference.

In terms of business, it is important to identify the areas that we can affect and those that are beyond our control. We must focus on the aspects that we can affect. We are operating in sectors where we can, for example, steer the direction of change or accelerate its speed. Building on our strengths, change offers us opportunities to succeed, grow and win, even under turbulent circumstances.

Over the past year, Sanoma developed into what it is today: a whole consisting of three independent business units. Our media operations in Finland and in Belgium and Holland, as well as our learning operations in five countries, are all undergoing a transformation, each at their own pace. We have established strong customer relationships in all of our operations, and we know our customers thoroughly. In addition to being drivers of change, customers determine its direction.

To successfully respond to customers’ needs, we must continuously improve our product competitiveness and innovation power. A strong corporate culture also supports our competitive ability. At its best, corporate culture is based on a combination of in-depth professional skills and the right kind of humility.

I would like to extend my warm thanks to Sanoma’s management and employees for the past year. Together we were able to further specify our direction, set the right goals and implement changes effectively. What we achieved is also evident to our shareholders: our share price has developed favourably, and our ability to pay dividends is stronger than before.

I hope you will enjoy our annual report. Thank you for your trust and support

Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Chairman of the Board, Sanoma


Susan Duinhoven:

I am happy to share with you Sanoma’s review of the year 2016.

For Sanoma, 2016 was a year of successful transformation. We got back on track, you could say. A lot of hard work, several changes, major victories, but also painful decisions paid off in the form of improved financial performance.

The world around us continues to change

In the world around us, 2016 there were definitely positive developments – and some which were quite different to what we were expecting. Times like this reinforce the need for independent, high quality media and education. We need news media to tell the truth, provide context and share points of view in an open and intellectually honest manner. We need strong media brands that enable readers to make the distinction between quality journalism and fake news. We also need learning materials that provide children with information as well as tools and methods to learn more and find their full potential in a rapidly changing world.

Even though media and learning are quite different businesses without much operational synergies within Sanoma, they both clearly share a ‘bigger purpose’. Sanoma’s role in society is more relevant than ever. It makes us all the more grateful to have gotten back on solid financial ground.

Data adds value

Data is one of the key ingredients that both our Media and Learning business share. Data allows us to improve the customer experience. For our media business this means that we are able to target the right audiences for advertisers and tailor content and services for media consumers. For our education business data makes the learning progress measurable for pupils and teachers. To be able to gather and store our customers’ data, we have to earn and maintain our customers’ trust. Trust is essential in our business and something that we take very seriously.

Sanoma is aiming for the highest standards in information security and privacy and we do our utmost to be that trusted partner to our customers.

Customers are the focus of our strategy

Our mission to engage people with content that inspires, informs, educates and entertains remains relevant, and the transformation gives us new tools to do that in constantly better ways. We will keep on supporting our customers and responding to their needs in everything we do.

In 2017, the transformation path of all media types will continue and the main trends we have seen already in 2016 will gather speed. The economic development in Europe and in our countries of operation looks slightly more positive, which may support our businesses in the coming year. And, as said, the need for high quality, local content is even stronger now than before.

Success is a team effort

Our turn for the better in 2016, from a very difficult 2015 was fast, even faster than expected. That proves the strength of the company, the brands and most of all; our teams. Therefore, I want to specially thank our teams and all our employees for their professionalism, expertise, commitment and good spirits to make this happen. I also want to thank our shareholders and financial partners for supporting us and giving us the time and the means to make this possible. In the annual report we share a number of examples of projects that we did last year and are proud of. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

Susan Duinhoven, President & CEO, Sanoma