Digital trends and challenges in the media landscape 2021
Photo: Scandinav Bildbyrå
The development of the media landscape continues to be characterised by digitalisation. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to more people turning to professional news media, while their advertising revenues continue to decline. The fourteenth edition of Nordicom’s recurring publication MedieSverige provides the reader with lots of facts and information about the Swedish media landscape.
A common thread in the development of the media landscape is digitalisation. MedieSverige 2021 shows that the shift to digital platforms continues, but at the same time the use of traditional media is relatively high. There is a clear line between those under and over 45 years of age. The elderly use both traditional and digital media, while those under the age of 45 use mostly digital media. It is clear that users move towards choosing services and content that they can start and engage with whenever it suits them.
The audience, the money and the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic dominated 2020, and the population’s news consumption has been in focus. The use of professional news media increased, though at the same time, these media have struggled with declining advertising revenues. News companies must instead rely on revenue coming from the audience. Getting users to pay for news – especially digital news – is slowly moving forward. A comparison between 2017 and 2020 of IRM's survey “Hushållets medieutgifter” [the household’s media spending] shows that spending on digital news media is increasing in all age groups, while it declines for printed news media.
In order to respond to financial pressure from news companies, the state increased its direct support to the general news media in 2020. In total, media support was granted for approximately SEK 1.4 billion, which was 700 million more than in 2019.
A media landscape with mainly Swedish actors
We do not know the turnover of companies like Facebook and Google on the Swedish market, we only know they have many users and that a large part of the advertising investments falls into their pockets. But the Swedish media market does largely consist of national players, which is shown in MedieSverige 2021.
However, the map of the Swedish newspaper market consists of fewer and fewer players. In 2017, there were nine major newspaper groups spread across the country, but in 2020, only six were left. The majority are Swedish companies, but in recent years, Norwegian stakeholders have also come in as co-owners. The TV market is dominated by Telia Company and Nent Group, as well as American Discovery. The radio market consists of two large companies, Nent Group and German-owned Bauer Media. In addition, public service is strong in both radio and television. All five of Sweden's largest media groups qualify for the list of the ten largest media groups in the Nordic region.
It is clear that the media landscape is constantly changing, and that is how it should be in a free and democratic society. We do not know for sure what the landscape will look like in the next issue of MedieSverige, but we can be sure that it will be different.
As with all Nordicom’s publications, MedieSverige 2021 is published Open Access and available to download for free (in Swedish). With it, you will also find summaries of the data on which the report is based, and a summary of the whole report in English. The report is also available in print.
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