The Icelandic ad market in 2017: Newspapers still on top

NEWS | 6 December 2018

In 2017, the Icelandic advertising revenue decreased slightly after a virtually continuous growth in recent years. Newspapers are still the most important advertising medium, retaining nearly 40 per cent of the total advertising revenue.

Statistics Iceland has released an analysis of the ad market in Iceland. It shows that, in 2017, Icelandic advertisers bought advertisements in the domestic media for 14,020 ISK million (116 EUR million), a slight decrease after a continuous – but slow – growth over the last decade.

Roughly three quarters of the ad revenue in 2017 fell into the hands of only five media and telecom companies, which points at a noteworthy concentration of the Icelandic media market.

Newspapers still most important
Despite the changing division of ad revenue shares between media industries – largely at the expense of the print media – print newspapers are still the single most important advertising medium on the Icelandic market, with a 38 per cent share of the total advertising revenue. In second place is television (21 per cent), followed by radio (17 per cent) and online advertising on domestic websites (13 per cent).

The media industries’ advertising revenues in ISK millions are presented in the graph below.

Advertising revenue in Iceland 2017 (ISK millions)

Graph Advertising revenues in Iceland 2017

1) The data do not include advertising on non-domestic websites.
Source: Statistics Iceland.

In a Nordic comparative perspective, this means that the Icelandic advertising market exhibits a number of special traits; i.e., a substantially larger share of the advertising cake falls into the hands of newspapers and radio, at the same time as online advertising is more limited, compared to its neighbouring Nordic countries.

Late development of online advertising
The weight of the web media as an advertising medium has been limited in Iceland. Since the 2010s its importance in this regard has increased slowly but surely, reaching 13 per cent of the total advertising revenue in 2017. Nearly 80 per cent of the online advertising revenue goes to media’s websites, with independents receiving just above 20 per cent.

Advertising expenditure to foreign websites is excluded in these figures. Cautious estimates from Statistics Iceland suggest that, in total, around one fourth to one fifth of Icelandic advertisers’ expenditures are on foreign websites (Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which is substantially lower than in the other Nordic countries.

Read the analysis on Statistics Iceland’s website


About the data: Statistics Iceland’s information about media advertising is derived from annual accounts, and according to information from the Icelandic Media Commission (Fjölmiðlanefnd)  from 2011 and onwards (previously from Statistics Iceland). In instances when information is missing from media operators, advertising revenues are estimated from VAT tax reports. Figures are partly based on estimates. Sponsoring is included.


New data on the media market to be released in Feb/March 2019:
Data on revenues of the Icelandic media market are expected to be released by Statistics Iceland in early 2019. Meanwhile, media revenue data for 2016, including time series starting in 1986, are available at Statistics Iceland's website.