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Norway's Schibsted to invest heavily in online media

OSLO: Norway-based media group Schibsted plans to invest heavily in online publishing to stem the profit erosion from the market's shift away from traditional print advertising, it said on Friday.Schibsted, which operates in 27, mainly European countries, said it plans to slash print publishing costs by 500 million crowns ($84.43 million) over the next two years and spend a similar amount in 2012 alone on "targeted investments" in online markets.

"In the last few months the trend of advertising revenues migrating from print to online has strengthened. This will continue," the firm said in a statement.The shift is eating into the firm's bottom line and its second-quarter pre-tax profit fell by 19 percent to 442 million crowns, slightly ahead of expectations for 426 million.In addition to problems with print media in its traditional Scandinavian base, the firm is also struggling in southern Europe, it added."The general economic conditions in Spain are demanding and there are no signs of improvement," it added.

The cost cuts, to be detailed in the third quarter, will primarily affect Norway, Sweden and Spain, while its investment will be aimed at rolling out online classifieds in new markets after successful launches in Italy, Austria and Ireland."The aim is both to invest substantially in digital competence and adjust the cost base," Schibsted added.