Nationwide commercial radio starts in Sweden

As the last Nordic country, Sweden now has nationwide commercial radio channels. The three companies that have been granted licences to broadcast throughout the country are Bauer Media, NRJ and NENT Group (MTG).
 | 10 September 2018

From 1 August, Sweden has a new commercial radio landscape, for the first time including nationwide commercial channels. In addition, 35 regional/ local broadcasting licences have also been granted. All licences will run for eight years, August 2018-July 2026, and have been distributed to seven companies. [1]

Previously, only licences for local broadcasting areas have been issued. Amounting to just over 100 licences,  these were, however, controlled by two major radio networks (Bauer Media and MTG Radio).

Two dominant players

Bauer Media (Mix Megapol), RBS Broadcasting AB (NRJ) and NENT Group (Rix FM) are the three companies that have been granted the three national broadcasting licences.

In addition to their national licences, Bauer Media and NENT Group have been granted 26 of the 35 regional/local licences. By agreements with the other licensees, these two companies also have access to the remaining licences in order to broadcast their own radio formats and/or for advertising sales.

Closed tender process – and fees

The companies pay a broadcasting fee for the entire licence period. The sum was determined in a closed tender process, meaning that the applicants submitted a specified tender for each requested licence. The process resulted in the three national licence holders together paying just over 900 million SEK (Bauer Media 408; RBS Broadcasting 306; and NENT Group 201 million SEK).

Calculated as an annual amount, the total fees paid for all licences – national and regional/local – end up at approximately the same level as in the earlier system.

What’s in it for the listeners?

Following the shift, most areas in Sweden get more radio channels. This is especially true of smaller cities, where there were often only one or two local radio stations to listen to in addition to the channels of SR, the Swedish public service broadcaster.

SR broadcasts four national channels, regional windows and some local channels, and there are also about 150 community radio stations operated mainly by non-commercial organisations.

[1] Följande företag har fått sändningstillstånd: Bauer Media AB, RBS Broadcasting AB (har bytt namn till NRJ Sweden), Kilohertz AB (NENT Group som tillhör MTG), DB Media AB, Mad Men Media AB (har bytt namn till Nya Radio City), Radio Nova AB (NTM) och Svenska Medietjänster AB.

Eva Harrie

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