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Media houses Sanoma and Alma boost profits

Business seems to be picking up in Finland's commercial media sector after years of falling subscriptions and viewerships, coupled with weak ad revenues.

Sanoma's glass main office is a landmark of central Helsinki. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland's two biggest media groups say profits have risen in recent months.

Sanoma, which operates in five European countries, says its third-quarter profits were up by nearly 25 percent from a year earlier, with improvement in all segments.

Profits during the July-to-September period were nearly 78 million euros. A year earlier they totalled just over 62 million. Sanoma says there was growth in all of its operations, which range from newspaper and magazine publishing to broadcasting and educational material. In Finland its flagship titles include Helsingin Sanomat, Ilta-Sanomat and perennial best-seller Aku Ankka (Donald Duck). It also owns Nelonen TV, several radio channels and web retailers.

The company's Dutch CEO, Susan Duinhoven, who took over a year ago, said on Friday that the group's Finnish media business was particularly profitable.

Sanoma is the largest media conglomerate in Finland and the Netherlands, with operations in Belgium, Poland and Sweden as well. Last year it had a turnover of 1.7 billion euros and a workforce of some 6,000.

Alma cites brisk online ad sales

Meanwhile Alma Media, which also has operations around Europe, boosted its profits and turnover by one-fifth in the third quarter.

Turnover was more than 80 million with profit of 9.1 million. During the same period of 2015, the corresponding figure was 7.6 million.

Alma says the improvement was driven by a growth in online advertising. However it reports continuing problems with its regional media outlets.

Alma publishes the tabloid Iltalehti, the Tampere daily Aamulehti and the business paper Kauppalehti among an array of other media outlets.

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