NEWS | 30 Mar 2017

TV viewing in the Nordic countries in 2016

Even though linear TV still attracts large audiences, the trend is clear: linear TV is decreasing while online TV is growing. And this is especially true for the young audience. This is shown in Nordicom’s compilations of 2016 TV data from the national survey institutes in the Nordic countries.

Around seven of ten Nordic people watch linear TV, or traditional TV, on a daily basis. Finland and Norway are on top with a 72 per cent daily reach, compared to Denmark and Sweden with 63-64 per cent.

Last year saw a decreasing daily reach in all countries except Finland, which has a more stable TV viewing pattern than the other countries. In a longer perspective, from the year 2000, Sweden and Denmark are the countries with the largest reduction in daily reach, dropping 12 and 8 percentage points respectively. (Reach data for Iceland are not available.)

Highest TV time in Finland, lowest on Iceland
On a daily basis, people in the Nordic countries spend 2.5 to 3 hours on TV viewing. The most avid TV viewers are found in Finland, where daily TV time even increased last year, while the downward trend continued in the other countries. The sharpest decline was noted in Denmark and on Iceland.

TV viewing time in the Nordic countries 2000-2016 (minutes/day)

Tittartid på TV i Norden 2000-2016

DENMARK: If a minor change in the method is taken into account, the actual drop in 2016 is closer to 11 minutes. ICELAND: As the figures are based on a specific week instead of annual averages, the results are sensitive to individual television events.
Sources: Kantar Gallup Denmark, Finnpanel, Gallup Iceland, Kantar TNS Norway, MMS.
Download the table including data for all years 2000-2016 (Excel)

Two channels reach half the population every day
In a longer perspective, the daily reach of the large TV channels has declined; but the situation has remained relatively stable for a few years. In 2016, the major channels’ daily reach and audience share stayed at the same level or declined by 1-2 percentage points (and in some cases even slightly increased) compared to 2015.

The two largest channels – NRK1 in Norway and YLE TV1 in Finland – are watched by almost half the population in each country on an average day, with MTV3 in Finland close behind.

Declining TV viewing for the young
Older people have increased their viewing time over the years, but in 2016 this trend continued only in Finland and Norway. In Denmark and Sweden, for the first time, the viewing time declined in all age groups. The largest drop was among Danish 19-34-year-olds, with 27 minutes less compared to 2015.

Among the young, linear TV viewing has steadily declined in recent years. Since 2010, the viewing time has decreased by half an hour among young people in Finland (15-24 years) up to 1.5 hours among young Danes (12-18 years).

TV viewing time among youth and young adults in the Nordic countries for 2010, 2015 and 2016 (minutes/day)

Ungdomars tittartid på TV 2010-2016
Sources: Kantar Gallup Denmark, Finnpanel, Kantar TNS Norway, MMS. (Data for Iceland are not available).
Download the table including data for all age groups, 2000-2016 (Excel)

Growing streaming services
The TV-meter surveys include traditional TV only, but other studies show the increasing video-on-demand viewing in the Nordic countries. The growth includes both openly available and paid-for streaming services (SVOD), especially among the young.

YouTube, Netflix and public service at the top
YouTube is the most popular streaming service. Half the population in Denmark, Finland and Sweden watch YouTube on a weekly basis (no data for Norway). Among the young audience, YouTube is more or less a daily habit. Among Swedish 9-19-year-olds, almost nine of ten (87 per cent) watch YouTube on a daily basis (93 per cent watch YouTube on a weekly basis).

After YouTube, Netflix and the open services offered by public service broadcasters have the greatest audiences. YouTube, and even more so Netflix, are also the services that Danes under 40 years would miss the most, according to a report from the DR Audience Research Department. It also shows that Danes under 40 prefer fiction and foreign content, while Danes over 40 prefer both Danish content and content from traditional TV channels.


Download more tables from Nordicom’s database table (Excel or PDF):

Daily TV reach 2000-2016
TV broadcasting companies' audience shares 2000-2016
Public service TV audience shares 2000-2016

Daily reach of streaming TV services in Norway and Sweden 2015-2016
Weekly reach of streaming TV services 2015-2016
The five largest streaming TV services by weekly reach 2015-2016 – GRAPH


About the statistics: Nordicom’s compilations for linear TV are based on TV-meter data from the national survey institutes responsible for the official TV surveys. The surveys measure linear TV viewing, but the reports also present, to various extents, other surveys and estimates for non-linear viewing. For video-on-demand viewing, for which there are no current industry standards, we have used openly available data from the survey institutes responsible for the official measurement of traditional TV, plus some complementary information.

Sources: Data are compiled mainly from the following institutes and reports:
The DR Audience Research Department: Media Development reports
Finnpanel: Television viewing in Finland 2016 (see TV Year 2017 Press Event)
YLE KMK survey 2015-2016 / Kantar TNS Finland
Gallup Iceland's website (in Icelandic)
TNS Gallup Norge: Årsrapport for TV-seing i Norge 2016 (TV data in English are presented by medianorway)
TNS Gallup Norge: Rikets medietilstand. Medietrender 2017
MMS: Årsrapport 2016 (annual report in Swedish)
MMS: Trend & Tema 2016:4