Sanoma Magazines International is responsible for Sanoma Magazines' activities in Central, Eastern and South East Europe. One of the last additions to its portfolio has been Slovenia, where operations began in 2006, when Sanoma Magazines International joined forces with Grüner + Jahr in the Adriatic region.

Sanoma Magazines International had entered the region already in 2001, when it established Sanoma Magazines Zagreb. This was followed by the entrance to the Serbian market in 2004. However, the markets in Adriatic region's countries are still small and the competition hard. In 2006, the international players in these markets found each other, and G+J, Sanoma Magazines International and Styria established a joint venture operating in Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. With their existing titles and the magazines bought from Burda, the new Adria Media Holding has a portfolio of 40 titles and a leading position in all three countries.

"Combining the forces enabled us to create a platform, that has a realistic possibility to become the leading publishing company in Serbia Slovenia and Croatia ," explains CEO Peter van Kol. "All three markets have shown high advertising growth in the last five years, but at a different pace. For example Slovenia has characteristics of a mature market already, whereas Serbian advertising is booming at the moment. Together they offer a nice combination of high growth and stable operations."

Improving positions

The first year of operations has been a busy one. The magazine portfolios of all three countries have seen changes. Combining titles from four publishers has meant closures, repositioning and restyling of titles as well as totally new launches. This has meant both cost savings and a wider range of products, that none of the partners could have gained by themselves.

"Developing a new concept is a sensitive and sometimes expensive project. By joining forces with both different publishers and different markets, expansion becomes a lot easier. A great example is Sanoma Magazines' concept, Story. Knowledge about the readers market, layout and design and several years of testing and improving the concept and the product in Croatia was avoided in Serbia by taking over the full concept - lots of money and time have been saved because testing was avoided," van Kol explains.

"Success of Story in Serbia proved that Croatian experience, investment and development pay of on regional level. We expect the same development with the Gala Style and are planning Story in Slovenia. Another good

example is the Serbian National Geographic, where we re-use 80% of the Croatian issue. At the same time, we must remain sensitive to differences between countries – despite their similarities; the Adriatic countries are independent states."

On and off line expansion

Experience in positioning Story has also been used in other Sanoma Magazines International countries, like Ukraine. But Adria Media Holding isn't just reproducing known international concepts; it has local concepts as well. "In September 2007, we launched a new monthly glossy in Croatia, and Serbian version is already in the pipeline. Sensa has a completely new approach to health and beauty. We feel confident with the concept and hope to expand it in the future," van Kol says.

Like in all the SanomaWSOY Group operations, digital business is very present also in the Adriatic region. "Online market is developing as we speak. We have a good possibility to become an important player in all three countries where we

operate. Our latest step in online world is the acquisition of in Croatia. And more will follow," says Peter van Kol about the future of the joint venture. "With the strong and well balanced printed portfolio and the growing internet presence, we should be able to become the leading publisher in the Adriatic region."

Adria Media Holding GmbH operates in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. It is a 50-50 joint venture between Sanoma Magazines International and Grüner+Jahr. Adria Media Holding publishes 40 magazines and employs around 370 people.

Adria Media Holding is part of Sanoma Magazines International, which is responsible for Central, Eastern and South East European operations of Sanoma Magazines. Sanoma Magazines is one of the largest consumer magazine publishers in Europe. It publishes more than 300 magazines in thirteen different countries.