Digital News Report 2019

NEWS | 11 July 2019

Norway leads the world in paying for online news, while Finland has the most trusted news media. These are some of the findings in the Digital News Report 2019, which compares online news consumption in 38 countries.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published its eighth annual report, tracking and comparing online news consumption in 38 markets across six continents. Below, we present a few of the results, focusing on the four Nordic countries included in the survey.

Important to note is that the results refer to online populations who use news at least once a month. [1]

Norway world leader in paying for online news
In Norway, 34 per cent paid for online news in the past year, which puts Norway at the top of international comparisons. Sweden (27 per cent), Finland (16 per cent) and Denmark (15 per cent) have among the highest level of payment for online news as well.

Proportion that paid for online news 2016-2019 (%)

Survey question: Have you paid for online news content, or accessed a paid for online news service in the last year?: Total sample in each country. All: Total sample across the study. Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 (interactive) plus previous reports.

Still, this result means the majority of readers are reluctant to pay. Despite efforts of the news industry to boost the number paying for online content, the past year saw only a slight increase. 

Among the handful of countries with growth were Norway and Sweden (+4 and +1 percentage points, respectively), while in Finland and Denmark, payment declined or remained at the same level (see graph above).

Smartphone the most popular device for news
The majority of Nordic citizens use online news weekly, from 80 per cent in Denmark to 84-85 per cent in Finland, Norway and Sweden.

For several years, the smartphone has been the number one device to access online news in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where seven of ten news consumers use their smartphones to access news. As for other mobile devices, around one-third use a tablet to access news.

Proportion that used different devices for news 2019 (per cent)

Survey question: Which, if any, of the following devices have you used to access news in the last week? Base: Total sample in each country. All: Total sample across the study. Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 (interactive).

In Finland, accessing news via mobile devices is lower than in the neighbouring countries. Six of ten Finns use a smartphone for news, the same number use a computer, and one-quarter use a tablet. The computer stayed the most widely used device for news until 2019, when the smartphone gained equal footing.

News media most trusted in Finland
Overall trust in the news is down from 44 to 42 per cent (all market average); however, at a country level there are stark differences.

Despite a small decline, Finland remains the country with the broadest trust in media (down 3 percentage points from last year, 59 per cent say they trust most news most of the time). Denmark ranks third with 57 per cent (after Portugal in second place with 58 per cent).

In Norway, 46 per cent of news consumers trust the news (+1 percentage point), while in Sweden, 39 per cent (-2 percentage points) express a general trust in the news.

More key findings
Read the full report to learn more about gateways to news; podcast listening; the younger generation’s consumption of news; the rise of populism and the consequences for news; and much more.

Moreover, three country reports for Denmark, Finland and Norway deeply examine the news consumption in each country (in national languages, see below).


The Digital News Report 2019: Full report online
The Digital News Report 2019: Analysis by country (online)
The Digital News Report 2019: PDF (16,5 MB)


Denmark: Danskernes brug av nyhedsmedier 2019
RUC Roskilde University


Finland: Uutismedia verkossa 2019 - Suomen maaraportti
Tampere University



Norway: Bruksmønstre for digitale nyheter
University of Bergen



[1] Important to note about the survey sample: Because this survey deals with news consumption, anyone indicating they had not consumed any news during the past month was filtered out (this category averaged around three per cent). The report is based on an online survey, and as such the results will underrepresent the consumption habits of people who are not online (typically older, less affluent, and with limited formal education). In this sense, it is better to think of results as representative of online populations who use news at least once a month. In a country like Norway, this is almost everyone (99 per cent). Read more: Survey Methodology for the 2019 Digital News Report


Comparing willingness to pay for news in the Nordic region:

In a chapter in Digital Media Inequalities, Hallvard Moe, professor of Media Studies in Bergen, analyses patterns of news consumption and willingness to pay for news in Finland, Denmark and Norway, revealing significant dissimilarities between the countries.

Download: Why free news matters for social inequality.Comparing willingness to pay for news in the Nordic region (PDF, 140 KB)