NEWS | 14 Mar 2016

Young people's media use in the Nordic countries

Media use is becoming increasingly fragmented, which is particularly evident among the young. A study initiated by Nordvision now shows that changes in young people's media habits follow the same pattern throughout the Nordic region.

With increasing access to various devices and a greater range of services and content – both locally and globally – media use is changing. In the Nordic countries, young people’s viewing of traditional television has declined for several years while their interest in social media and streaming services has increased. And the competition for their attention is great.

Against this background, in 2015 Nordvision commissioned a survey among 13-29-year-olds in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The results show that the changes among the young are similar in all Nordic countries, indicating that the development entails global and structural trends rather than national and cultural ones.

Most time on smartphones and computers
Young people in the different Nordic countries spend about the same amount of time on media overall, and the allocation of time to different platforms is also similar across the Nordic region. Young people spend most of the time on smartphones and PCs, followed by traditional TV.

Time spent on different media platforms among 13-29-year-olds in the Nordic countries (minutes/day)

Categories in English: Radio, Chromecast, AppleTV, Game console, Tablet, PC, Smartphone, TV.
Source: "Mediebruk i Norge – Oppsummering 2015" (page 16) by NRK Analyse.

For seven of ten Nordic 13-19-year-olds, the device they would miss the most is their mobile phone. Two of ten teenagers answer that it would be their computer, while only a small per cent say they would miss TV the most.

YouTube and Netflix most popular
While traditional TV viewing is decreasing, watching moving images through other platforms and services shows the opposite development. The Nordic 13-19-year-olds spend the most media time per day on YouTube (an average of 38 minutes/day), followed by Netflix (24 minutes), other streaming services (20 minutes), and any of the Nordic public service companies (20 minutes).

When the teenagers were asked which medium they would miss the most, the most common answers were YouTube (29%), Facebook (16%) and Spotify (12%). Seven per cent said they would miss the public service output the most.

As for YouTube, young people usually seek niche content and specific clips. For the 13-19-year olds the most popular content is music, different YouTube stars, and other content they consider entertaining or funny.

Social media
Facebook is still the social media platform with the largest reach among Nordic youth. But when it comes to commitment and contributing their own content, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp seem to get them more involved. The Norwegian report also points to some differences between the Nordic countries: Snapchat is more popular in Norway than in other Nordic countries, while WhatsApp is huge in Finland.

Sources and further reading
There is no Nordic report publicly available, but some Nordic and national results are presented in the following reports:

Nordvision press release 2015-12-18: Lives and media habits of 13-29-year-olds
DR Audience Research Department: Media Development 2015 - chapter 9/Generation instant pay-off
NRK Analyse: Mediebruk i Norge – Oppsummering 2015

About the survey: Nordvision, a TV and media partnership involving the Nordic public service organisations, has financed a series of analysis projects across the Nordic countries since 2013. The analyses, conducted by the research departments of DR, Yle, NRK and SVT, have focused on the age segments 3-6, 7-12 and 13-29 years. The last age group was the theme for the project in 2015, which began with a qualitative pre-study in Denmark among fifteen 13-29-year-olds, aiming to better understand their media use. Based on these results, the research institute Norstat conducted the main survey with 1,000 respondents in each country in September and October, 2015.