NEWS | 19 Apr 2018

Digitization of local media use in Norway

Local newspapers still play an important role for most people, though only a few find it reasonable to pay for online news. At the same time, Facebook has become the most widely used source for community information, while NRK's online offering is not considered a threat to local newspapers. These are some of the findings in a new report on digital media use in Norway.

The research project Digitization and Diversity (BI: CCI) examines how public and private digitization initiatives affect diversity in the culture and media sector.

The project's first report, Digitalisering av lokal mediebruk [Digitization of Local Media Use], seeks answers to the question of how small newspapers can survive in the new global news market.

Generally great interest in local news
About 60 per cent of the population express a high interest in local news, while only 10 per cent indicate a low interest. Interest in local news increases with age, and it is only after the age of 40 that there is a clear majority of people with high interest.

Facebook has the highest use and lowest confidence
Half the population use Facebook on a daily basis for updates on what is happening in their community, while just under a third use the local newspaper's online edition and just as many follow the local newspaper on Facebook.

Trust does not, however, follow the most widely used information sources in society, i.e. the social media platforms. Instead, trust is rooted in traditional media such as the public service broadcaster NRK, local newspapers, and the municipalities' websites.

Over 60 per cent say they have high confidence in local newspapers, while only a few per cent report low confidence. By comparison, just over a third say they have low confidence in Facebook.

Disapproval of payment walls
Even though a majority report high interest in local news, 60 per cent of the population argue that news should be free and only a third think it is reasonable to charge for news online. 60 per cent claim they read less news since user payment was introduced by the local newspaper, and half of the respondents say pay walls have lead them to use other news sources more often than before.

NRK no threat to local newspapers
NRK's local radio and TV broadcasts are used on a daily basis by half of the people aged 50 years and over, while this is the case for only 4-7 per cent under 40 years. NRK's online news also has low support among younger people.

Compared to the use of local newspapers, NRK's online news offerings are less used for daily updates and likely function more as a supplement than a substitute for local newspapers.

Download the report from the research project’s website
Download the report here (PDF, in Norwegian)


More information: The report on digital media use is published by BI: Center for Creative Industries (BI: CCI), a research centre created by BI Norwegian Business School. The report is written by Ragnhild Kr. Olsen, Mona Solvoll and Anne-Britt Gran. See more reports (on e.g. libraries/books and film) from the Digitization and Diversity project here.


BALDER HOLM, Nordicom-Norway

English translation: Eva Harrie