Huge loss in ad revenues for Norwegian newspapers

NEWS | 28 June 2017

Last year, the newspapers in Norway lost well over 100 million euro in advertising revenue (over one billion NOK). For the first time, revenue from digital advertising also declined. This is according to a report by the Norwegian Media Authority on the newspaper economy in 2016.

Despite cutbacks by more than 80 million euro last year, the Norwegian newspaper industry saw profitability decrease, compared to 2015. As for total operating revenue, there was a decrease by more than 100 million euro (950 million NOK).

Almost all papers lose advertising revenue
Over the past five years, Norwegian newspaper publishers lost 35 per cent of their advertising revenue. Previously, this development mainly struck the largest newspapers; now, almost all newspapers are hit, including smaller ones.

Up to 2016, the drop in adverting revenue has concerned only print newspapers. To some extent the loss was compensated by growth in digital revenue, but in 2016 this came to an end when digital advertising declined as well.

Higher newspaper prices
On the other hand, revenue from newspaper sales increased slightly from 2015 to 2016. Over the last few years (2012 to 2016), operating income has remained rather stable, while circulations have fallen by almost 13 per cent. This means that newspapers have compensated for a drop in circulation with increased prices.

Reader payment increasingly important
In 2015, income from advertising was smaller than newspaper sales for the very first time. In 2016, advertising revenue share decreased further from 47 per cent to 42 per cent. Thus, the sharp decline in advertising revenue underlines an increasing dependency on readers paying for content.

At the same time, the number of Norwegian newspapers with pay models for news on digital platforms continues to increase. Additionally, there have been many positive indications about the willingness to pay for digital content.

For example, a 2016 report on Norwegian newspapers (Avisåret 2016) points to an increasing number of digital subscriptions. Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report shows that Norway is the country with the most widespread access to digital news subscriptions.


Read more and download the report from the Norwegian Media Authority’s website (in Norwegian)


About the report: "Økonomien i avishusa" [The Economy for Norwegian Newspapers] is the first report in the Norwegian Media Authority’s annual reporting on the media industry's economic development, with a focus on news and current affairs media. A second report on the economy of local broadcasting was published in July, and the entire report will follow in October. Data are primarily based on the Authority’s own data collections, plus Norwegian media companies’ official annual accounts and reports. The reports are published in Norwegian.


More reading:
The Norwegian Newspaper Year 2016 (Avisåret 2016) by Sigurd Høst (presentation in English)
Digital News Report 2017: Norway from the Reuters Institute for Journalism Research
Pay walls strengthened local newspapers’ ad potential, by BI:CCI (presentation in English)
Ad Wars. Digital Challenges for Ad-Financed News Media in the Nordic Countries (Nordicom)