15 year anniversary: „24sata has grown up“

15 years ago, 24sata was first published: Today, STYRIA's own foundation has established itself as the largest media brand in Croatia. Klaus Schweighofer, Managing Director of Styria Media International, was already there at the time - and explains the nature of the successful company together with Editor-in-Chief Goran Gavranovic.

More than 400,000 readers of the print edition daily, plus 1.9 million real users per month: In the 15 years of its existence, the Croatian STYRIA daily newspaper 24sata has had a great history, especially digitally: Online, the media brand now reaches every second user in Croatia. Employees and management have already celebrated this internally at a birthday party in Zagreb.

At the time, Jasna Zemljic, who was most recently responsible for the STYRIA Innovation Incubator, as well as Sales Director Andrea Borosic (now head of Vecernji list), then Boris Trupcevic, who managed the publishing breakthrough as the new editor-in-chief from autumn 2005 and is now the company's managing director, played a major role in the launch of 24sata. Further key players on the way: Renato Ivanus (as editor-in-chief, today managing director at Vecernji list), Sanda Loncar as digital boss (today at the Kleine Zeitung in Graz), Zoran Turkovic, who established the digital culture with Boris Trupcevic and Goran Gavranovic as current editor-in-chief.

Klaus Schweighofer, CEO of Styria Media International (photo below right), and Editor-in-Chief Goran Gavranovic (in the photo below left) talk about what makes 24sata what it is.

From the new foundation to the largest media brand in Croatia: What is the secret of 24sata's success?
KLAUS SCHWEIGHOFER: The new culture and energy that usually emanates from start-ups and which we have cultivated from day one - young, innovative, passionate, carefree, and different. The 24sata spirit is comparable to that of our Antenne Radio Stations.
GORAN GAVRANOVIC: There are many reasons. The right level of quality and price, constant innovation, following and setting trends. Working in the public interest, but not promoting prejudices. It is important for us to always insist on the golden rules of journalism and to give a voice to the weak and unheard. But the main reason for our success is the constant change, without neglecting real journalism and of course the people who work in our organisation. So the main secret of success is to put the right people in the right places and give them creative freedom.

A look back: How has 24sata changed in 15 years?
SCHWEIGHOFER: 24sata has grown up - with all its positive and negative aspects. And: 24sata is now above all a digital brand. 
GAVRANOVIC: In the beginning, the Croatian media scene needed light, funny and sarcastic daily newspapers, but over time and with the decline of other media, especially the serious ones, our brand has changed a lot. We have become more opinion makers, but at the same time we have kept a light, funny and sarcastic way of storytelling.

What were the most challenging, exciting and thrilling moments in your personal 24sata story?
SCHWEIGHOFER: The most exciting moment was the first day of publication, March 2, 2005. We didn't know if people would even buy the newspaper. And then we sold more than 160,000 copies on the very first day. The most challenging thing was to turn the initial momentum into sustainable business. That took us six months. And we also had to replace some executives.
GAVRANOVIC: Every day is a challenge. Especially in the editorial department with all the vanities and egos. So coordinating them is a big challenge. But I would generalize about the highlights: For example, by changing our society, by creating new brands such as Express, BestBook and Artis, by starting a book production or launching many other projects. I'm thinking, for example, of the Fric literary prize, the project Gone, but not forgotten, the Midnight Run at Zagreb Airport and so on. I think it's great that the focus has shifted from print to digital, where we've been able to maintain and even improve print quality - and start the largest video production in the region. 24sata had a strong culture of innovation right from the start and always had the best team.

Which moments were the most disappointing?
SCHWEIGHOFER: Disappointment is not a category at 24sata. There are many successes but also defeats, of which there have been some in these 15 years. The important thing is that we think we have learned from these defeats. 
GAVRANOVIC: When some of our colleagues have decided to leave us. Or if there were projects that were not so successful for various reasons. But actually there were not so many disappointing moments that I can remember. 

What will 24sata look like in 15 years?
SCHWEIGHOFER: Young, innovative, passionate and different.
GAVRANOVIC: That is the million dollar question. But the answer is simple. 24sata will be the leading medium in the region on every platform or communication channel that dominates in 15 years. That also means that we will adapt our content for each platform, but we will keep our recognizable trademarks and still be the guardians of the old but golden journalistic rules.