Since its start in 1804, Bonnier has been publishing high-quality media products in close cooperation with authors, journalists and publishers.
From its roots in book publisher Albert Bonniers Förlag, to daily newspapers, magazines and business press, to digital toys and knowledge services. Here is Bonnier’s history in five phases, from an owner and business perspective
Albert Bonnier founded Albert Bonniers Förlag in 1837
The Emigrants: 1804-1890
It started in Denmark when Gerhard Bonnier leaves Dresden to open a bookstall in Copenhagen in 1804. Continues in Sweden, where son Albert Bonnier opens his own book publisher in 1837. And grows as books became hugely popular in Sweden.
Friends (Vänner) painted by Hanna Pauli. Ellen Key reads aloud to her friends in the Junta Society. From left is the painter’s sister Betty Hirsch, actress Olga Björkegren, Lisen Bonnier, artist Nanna Sohlman Bendixson, Ellen Key, Hanna Hirsch-Pauli, Gerda Berg and artist Richard Berg, book publisher Karl Otto Bonnier, artist Georg Pauli, author and pedagogue Artur Bendixson and literary figure Klas Fåhreus.
The Entrepreneurs: 1890-1930
More than just book publishers, Albert Bonnier and son Karl Otto Bonnier become established as major forces in Swedish culture with their stable of important writers. August Strindberg. Selma Lagerlöv. Ellen Key. They’re patrons of the arts. People of influence.
When Mai Santesson in 1943 started as editor-in-chief, Damernas Värld changed to a magazine with luxury, Paris fashions and at-home-with-celebrity stories. Circulation hit the roof and advertisers were delighted.
The Media Moguls: 1930-1970
The age of mass media begins. And Karl-Otto’s sons Tor, Åke and Kaj are in the thick of it. Acquiring a majority stake in news daily Dagens Nyheter. Buying magazine house Åhlén & Åkerlund. Founding the anti-Nazi newspaper Expressen. Defending free speech.
Main image: The film My Life as a Dog, directed by Lasse Hallström, was released to cinemas in Sweden in 1985. It is based on the second novel of a semi-autobiographical trilogy by Reidar Jönsson and tells the story of Ingemar, a young boy sent to live with relatives. Small images: the first issue of Estonian financial daily Äripäev; Swedish magazines queen Amelia Adamo; the news desk of TV4 Nyheterna.
The Entertainers: 1970-2000
Branching out from its base in books, newspapers and magazines, Bonnier jumps into entertainment. Commercial network TV4. Cinema chain SF Bio. Opportunities abound in an environment of deregulation and expansion. In 1985, the real estate company Bonnier Fastigheter was established to maintain and develop Bonnier’s real estate holdings.
The Age of Disruption: 2000 and onward
Digitalization. Transformation – first slowly and carefully, then in full force. Online bookstore Adlibris is acquired in 2004. Consumers call the shots as media becomes digital and social, and competition is global. Technology has a place at the table with companies such as BookBeat, Clio Online and KIT. Bonnier invests in new services and transforms into an ever more digital media company. Journalism and book publishing continue to be central, but products are developed with investments in technology and user experience, to meet new customer behaviors. In 2016, Bonnier’s digital sales surpassed SEK 100 million, in 2017 Dagens Nyheter hit 120,000 digital subscribers and at the beginning of 2018, on-demand service TV4 Play had more than 4 million registered users. Bonnier Fastigheter develops Stockholm’s Hornstull neighborhood and takes an active role in Stockholm’s growth as a key player in the development of the Värtan neighborhood.