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Digital newspapers, car radio, and streamed television – this is how the Swedish population used media in 2021

NEWS | 16 May 2022

Two out of three of the Swedish population read a daily newspaper on an average day in 2021 – digital reading dominated. Car radio was the most common way to listen to the radio, and 93 per cent of the population watched moving images in some form on an average day. These are some of the most important results from the Swedish Media Barometer 2021 summarised.

The Swedish Media Barometer 2021 illustrates media use in the Swedish population aged 9–85 years old on an average day in 2021. The results of the survey are summarised here. The full report is available for free download through the link below.

 

Nine out of ten watched moving images – eight out of ten used social media networking services

Of all the different media types, moving images was the most shared in 2021. On an average day, no less than 93 per cent of the population looked at moving images in some form. This includes traditional and streamed television, web-TV and video clips as well as DVD or Blu-ray movies. A little less (83%) used social networking services. The social networking services had a higher daily reach than radio and daily newspapers, which, when included in online use, had a reach of 76 and 68 per cent, respectively. 

 

Total time spent with media was almost seven hours per day

Media of various kinds fill a large part of people’s waking day. Like the year before, 2021 was influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a great impact on our daily habits and our need for information, news, and entertainment. Last year’s report showed highly increased media use among the Swedish population during the first year of the pandemic, and the Media Barometer 2021 shows that the increased level remained steady during 2021. In 2021, the total daily media usage time was 411 minutes, or almost seven hours. This also includes the simultaneous use of media – that is, media can very well be used in parallel (e.g., someone listening to music while reading a book). The longest time (140 minutes) was given to audio media, which includes radio, podcasts and music. Close behind was the media for moving images, such as television and YouTube, at 139 minutes. 

 

Listening to the radio in the car is still the most common way to listen to the radio

In 2021, 51 per cent of the population listened to the radio in the car on an average day. Car radio was thus the most common way to listen to the radio. About one-third, or 35 per cent, listened to a traditional radio. In terms of the population as a whole, listening via the Internet was significantly less widespread: 24 per cent listened to podcasting and 20 per cent listened to live web radio.

There were as many people watching traditional television as streamed television

On a typical day in 2021, an average of 93 per cent of the population aged 9 to 85 looked at moving pictures in some form, and 89 per cent watched television. The daily range for streamed television was 58 per cent, while the range for traditional television was 57 per cent. Slightly fewer (42%) watched YouTube on a typical day, and 23 per cent looked at other content online.

 

Two out of three read the daily newspaper on an average day – digital reading dominated

68 per cent of the population read a daily newspaper on an average day in 2021. 56 per cent read the newspaper digitally and 28 per cent on paper. Most (55%) read a morning paper. More people read the morning paper digitally (38%) than on paper (26%). For the evening paper, the daily reach was 40 per cent. Here, readers of digital newspapers were in a clear majority.

 

One-third of the population read a magazine or periodical – reading on paper dominated

On an average day in 2021, 36 per cent of the population read a magazine; 26 per cent read magazines on paper and 17 per cent digitally. If the time interval for reading is increased in the last week, the reach for magazines rose to 57 per cent. The largest proportion of readers, 20 per cent per day, had a weekly newspaper and a monthly magazine.

 

The printed book remains most popular

In 2021, the average daily readership of printed books was 45 per cent. Fiction was the most commonly read genre, followed by educational and specialist books. 34 per cent of the population read a printed book, 13 per cent listened to an audiobook and only 7 per cent read an e-book. However, the average usage time was longest for audiobooks.

 

Facebook was the most used social networking service – except among younger users

The daily reach of Facebook was 64 per cent in 2021 in the population as a whole. This made Facebook the most widespread social networking service. Facebook was the most popular service among those between 45 and 85 years old, while younger users were more likely to use Snapchat and Instagram. Among the youngest, 9 to 14 years old, TikTok was very popular.

 

SVT was the most used news service in 2021

53 per cent took part in news from SVT (the Swedish public television broadcaster) on an average day in 2021. SVT was thus the most used news communicator in the population as a whole. 43 per cent received news from SR (Swedish Radio) and 38 per cent from the TV4 television network. The news coverage from SVT, SR and TV4 was significantly higher in the older part of the population than in the younger.

 

One in four took part in news via Facebook

26 per cent of the population consumed news via Facebook. That made Facebook the most used social networking service for news. However, the variation between different age groups was considerable. Among 9–14-year-olds, Instagram and TikTok were the most used sources of news among social networking services. Among 15–24-year-olds, Instagram was the dominant source of news.

 

Access to the smartphone is almost total – except among the oldest

By 2021, 96 per cent of the population had access to a smartphone. With that, the smartphone was the most widespread media technology in Sweden, before both television and laptops. Although smartphone dominance did not apply to the oldest age group (65–85 years old). Here, a tenth did not have a smartphone, while almost everyone had a television. 69 per cent of the population also had access to a tablet and 66 per cent to a media player (such as Apple TV or Chromecast).

 

Half of the population had a subscribed daily newspaper

In 2021, 50 per cent of the population had access to a subscribed daily newspaper in their household. 48 per cent had access to a subscribed morning newspaper. Most (38%) had a digital subscription, and 28 per cent had access to a subscribed printed newspaper. 8 per cent of the population had access to a subscription to a digital plus service from an evening newspaper.

 

Streaming services for television and music are almost as widespread

In 2021, 71 per cent of the population had access to a subscribed streaming service for television (e.g., Netflix). 67 per cent had access to a subscribed streaming service for music or podcasts (e.g., Spotify). In both cases, the availability was highest in the age group 9–24 years old and lowest in the age group 65–85 years old. 58 per cent of the population had access to a channel package for television. Here, the differences between the age groups were somewhat less noticeable.

 

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