Norway’s largest commercial broadcaster TV 2 recently released a startling statistic revealing how many people it’s reaching online every day. The number – 1,5 million – is impressive enough, but throw in the fact that the company had a whopping 170,000 more unique users in Q4 2022 than the previous year (making them the fastest growing news outlet in the country) and TV 2 is doing phenomenally well when it comes to digital growth. The biggest gamechanger? A content management system called Labrador.
“(The growth) is a result of a determined strategy and the way that our journalists, editors and front editors work,” says TV 2 manager Derek André Bjølgerud. “It’s also about choosing the right CMS, a CMS that is so easy to work with that even media leaders can use it.
“In order to deliver quality content on all platforms, TV 2 is dependent on a publishing platform that is efficient and user friendly. We found that in Labrador CMS.”
A CMS developed by journalists for journalists, Labrador has been a part of the digital strategy at TV 2 for a decade. The system allows editing directly in the layout for both text and images so journalists no longer need to switch between a multitude of different tools.
“TV 2’s growth strategy to have a CMS that is so easy to work with, even leaders can use it became a causeway between the different departments in the media group,” says CEO of Labrador CMS, Jan Thoresen. “Now both digital and TV can use the same system.”
A true homegrown success story, Labrador CMS is tailor made in Norway. The Labrador journey started back in 2008 when Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet decided the systems available weren’t good enough for a modern newsroom.
Since then, a dedicated group of developers, mainly with backgrounds from the media industry, have kept on building and improving Labrador to the leading cloud-based, SaaS CMS it is today.
“Our team have experience from large news operations and international magazine publishing,” says Thoresen. “Together with our 2000 users we make sure the system puts journalism first.
“We believe we are in a new phase of web publishing. You can log into Labrador and have your own media house. What we do is to remove tech out of the equation. Now publishers can concentrate on producing content, distribution and creating revenue.”
A match made in heaven
According to TV 2 manager Derek André Bjølgerud, Labrador CMS is the company’s most valuable tool.
“The vast majority of our online content goes through Labrador. That includes all articles in classical formats and video clips,” he says. “The system is so important to TV 2 that we are part owners of the company Labrador CMS AS, that delivers the system.
“Every journalist and editor in TV 2 have to use Labrador CMS. It’s with this tool we can build a user experience in the easiest way on all our digital platforms.
“Labrador has a slogan that ‘What you see is what you get’, and that is actually completely accurate. I think that is the foundation that made the entire organisation, both TV and online reporters alike, to work in the system.
“This common ground is important to make sure that everyone is playing on the same team. Or else you could risk that the TV news, that makes great and important journalism, won’t reach the online viewers.”
A matter of trust
Labrador’s slogan not only sums up how user-friendly its CMS is, but is also an ethos that permeates throughout the entire company.
“Norway has a trust economy, also in business. To be trusted is more important than contracts for us,” says Thoresen. “So, we make sure we are trustworthy. When it comes to tech, there seems to be a bit of a headless hybris in our industry now.
“We see a lot of incoming customers struggling with their headless tech stack. We support what we call Beyond Headless. We provide all the tools you expect form a headless system, but in addition we provide your developers with a complete rendering engine. Now you can use all the built-in functionality out of the box, then build your secret sauce on top.
“This approach is much faster and less development intensive. And it makes it possible to do visual editing of both front pages and articles. No competitor in the market has this.”