Global players’ impact on the Danish media market

The Danish media companies have lost their impact on the media market development. Instead, global giants like Google and Facebook are setting the terms – and taking care of the money. This is reported in a study of the global players' impact on the Danish media industry.
 | 1 November 2017

The report Globalisation of the Danish Media Industry describes how the Danish media industry is exposed to extreme pressure from global technology giants. Subdivided into four sections, the report shows how foreign players are affecting the media industry and journalism.

The study, presented in September, is intended to provide a basis for further discussions on how to ensure a variety of Danish quality media in the future.

The survey, initiated by the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces, was prepared by the thinktank Mandag Morgen in collaboration with Copenhagen Business School and Aalborg University Copenhagen.

Global giants drive the development

The first part shows how the technology development has led to a media market characterized by globalization, digitization and datafication, which in turn has fundamentally changed the conditions for the Danish media companies.

This means that the domestic media houses are no longer capable of determining the technological, distributive or commercial standards they use when they provide Danish content to Danish media consumers. Instead, these standards are now determined by global players.

Google and Facebook dominate the ad market

The second part of the report deals with economic displacement and the search for new business models. It describes the digital advertising market as bipolar, i.e. a market dominated by two players, Google and Facebook. More or less all online market growth goes to these two.

To a large extent, Google and Facebook dictate how Danish media companies interact with users and advertisers. And as they continually launch new tools and services – or acquire existing businesses – the national media's dependence upon them continuously increases.

Social media transforms journalism

The Danish media houses’ use of the global platforms, chiefly Facebook, to reach their users also affects the journalistic criteria. The third part of the report concludes that social media have transformed the distribution of news media content, reorganised work processes and exerted strong pressure on Danish media to adapt accordingly.

The battle of platforms affects media content

The fourth part describes the struggle between the global platforms to become news consumers’ first – and preferably only – choice, and to control their user data.

For this purpose, they are constantly developing new technologies, of which Snapchat Discover, Facebook's Instant Articles, and Google's AMP are some current examples. This development also affects how Danish media houses produce, prioritize and distribute their content.

More cooperation suggested

The final chapter (also in the fourth section) concludes that the impact of global players on the media industry has many consequences, both directly and indirectly. It outlines six issues suggested to be prioritized in further discussions of Denmark’s future culture and media policy.

Among the areas of concern are that the Danish media companies are too small to reduce their dependency on the international media giants; that there is an increasing risk of less journalistic diversity (in both geographic and subject areas); and that the media’s credibility is undermined by fake news and blurred distinctions between editorial and commercial content in the media.

As the media industry's ability to influence the development has diminished, the report suggests that the "old" media companies increase their collaboration to better meet the global challenge, rather than compete with each other.

Challenges for national media policy

Finally, the report lists eight issues for politicians and media stakeholders to consider in connection with impending negotiations regarding the Danish media subsidies.

The report is part of the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces’ project "Reporting on the media development in Denmark", which regularly publishes factual knowledge about media use, media content and media industry developments and conditions in Denmark. The reporting consists of annual reports and a number of special reports.

More reading: Nordicom's publication Ad Wars - Digital Challenges for Ad-Financed News Media presents an analysis of how the digitalization of the advertising market – and the growing influences of global companies such as Google and Facebook – has impacted the business model of Nordic news media companies.

Eva Harrie

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