Iceland’s media economy – new analysis of revenue trends

NEWS | 10 June 2020

Since the market’s all-time high in 2007, Iceland’s media industry has lost almost a fifth of their revenues. Advertising revenue has decreased the most, according to new data from Statistics Iceland.

In 2018, the Icelandic media revenue amounted to ISK 26,300 million (approx. EUR 206 million), a 7 per cent decline compared to 2017. This is shown in Statistic Iceland’s annual analyses of media revenues on the domestic market.

Since the economic peak of 2007, the total media revenue has decreased by 18 per cent, or almost a fifth, in fixed prices. The largest drop is in advertising revenues, which fell by 30 per cent during the same period, while subscription and users’ fees decreased by 7 per cent (see graph below).

Graph: Icelandic media revenue in fixed prices (index)

Graph Media revenue in Iceland 1996-2018 index
Source: Media Revenue 2018, Statistics Iceland (May, 2020)

Of the total media revenue in 2018, the television industry accounts for almost half (49%), followed by newspapers (23%). Focusing on the advertising market, newspapers is Iceland’s largest ad medium, accounting for one-third (33%) of ad revenues, followed by television (21%), radio (18%) and advertising on Icelandic websites (14%).

Thus, from a Nordic comparative perspective, the Icelandic ad market exhibits a number of special traits. On the one hand, a larger share of the advertising falls into the hands of newspapers and radio, and on the other hand, the share of online advertising is more limited, compared to its neighbouring Nordic countries.

Read Statistic Iceland’s two recent analyses in English or Icelandic:

15.05.2020 Seven per cent fall of media revenue in 2018
27.05.2020 Two per cent drop in advertising revenue of domestic media in 2018

15.05.2020 Tekjur fjölmiðla lækkuðu um 7% á milli áranna 2017 og 2018
27.05.2020 13,4 milljarðar króna í birtingu auglýsinga í innlendum fjölmiðlum


Media revenue is defined as revenue from users (subscription fees, single-copy sales and pay-per-view, as well as broadcasting fees levied upon all eligible individuals and companies), advertisements and sponsoring. The data does not include foreign media.

The data is derived from the media companies’ information to Fjölmiðlanefnd, the Icelandic Media Commission, from 2011 onwards (previously Statistics Iceland), and annual accounts. In instances when information is missing from media operators, revenues are estimated based on VAT reports and other available information.



Statistics Iceland is a member of Nordicom’s Nordic statistical network, and contributes Icelandic data to Nordicom's comparative Nordic media statistics.