Case study: Tilannehuone.fi (Finland)

The name of the publication and / or company

 Arknet Avoin Yhtiö and Tilannehuone.fi

Established

2007

Web Address

Tilannehuone.fi

Form of the company

Partnership

Describe your site or business in few words.

Tilannehuone.fi has existed as a website since 2004 or 2005. It was – and still is mainly a hobby for its developers, two brothers who were interested in crime, fire and rescue issues. In 2007 the company was established in order to get a media status in the eyes of authorities. The idea of Tilannehuone.fi is to aggregate all the open data about emergencies and alarms in Finland on one continuously updated list and illustrate the alarms also on an interactive map.

“Our main idea has been to show the information differently than others do. We want our web pages to be visually clear and that the information can be found easily and fast. We want to tell the people what’s really happening, not just that there was an alarm somewhere. We want to report also those alarms that aren’t newsworthy in other media. We never did this for other media companies, but for the man in the street. However, other media companies have learned how to make good use of our publication. When we started to sell advertising the publication became profitable.”

Tilannehuone.fi uses also volunteers who are collecting information and photos of accidents from different areas in Finland. The media coverage about the accidents is also linked to the site.

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid half time

2: There’s two regular workers, but it takes approximately two hours a day. They have other jobs.

Content creators, unpaid

5

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

There’s five more or less active volunteers. We don’t  have any contracts of employment, and we don’t pay salaries for them. Thousands of people take part in creating content in the way that they send us photos or tips of accidents and alarms.

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

It varies. We don’t need to spend much time trying to find advertisers anymore. We use agents to do that. We define the prices for banners and in the end of the month we get paid. Creating the contents takes most of the time nowadays.

Business, marketing & sales, paid half time

2: There’s two regular workers working few hours a day. Part of the advertisement selling is nowadays outsourced to Ilta-Sanomat, major tabloid newspaper in Finland.

 

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

Yes, I would. We cover the expenses by advertisements. We don’t pay for the contributors, though we’ve thought about that. At this point it’s not an option, since we ourselves don’t get paid that well either.

Revenue per year

Less than 50.000 EUR, 65000 USD

What kind of advertising you sell?

Ad networks, banners, advertisements based on geographical location. We’ve just made a contract with a tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (published by Sanoma, an European media company). They start to advertise us in their tabloid and sell our advertisements. But we have not sold ourselves or the whole service to Sanoma.

Do you sell any other services

Basically nothing. People send us photographs, and we pass the photographer’s contact information to other media. There’s no money in it. We’ve been asked to consult and train other companies, but so far we haven’t done that.

Do you sell virtual or physical products?

Software, plugins and apps, special editions of content. We’ve made customized maps for several media companies. For example, we made a map of fire alarms and emergencies for newspaper Turun Sanomat. That map covered their circulation area.

Do you see your publication as your main product?

Yes, I do.

Do you see your company as a journalistic organisation or a media organisation?

We are both, but we’d like to define ourselves as journalistic organisation. Our goal is to make our own news. We try to follow the journalistic principles in our work.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability?

You need to be interested in what you’re doing. So far there isn’t much money in this. You have to have your heart in this.