World Media in 2005: Sweden

Despite 74 per cent internet penetration and being located in the most "e-ready" region in the world, Sweden still favours print media ahead of online and the heavily regulated TV sector.

Sweden is world-renowned for its high standard of living and efficient welfare system. It pioneered the economic model of the public-private partnership, a collaboration between public bodies and private companies which New Labour is attempting to emulate in the UK.

Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 and many of its media owners are beginning to grow their interests in other European countries. The media conglomerate Bonnier, for instance, already has interests outside of Sweden - mainly in other Scandinavian countries and in Germany. Meanwhile, Modern Times Group is investing in TV channels in Eastern Europe.

Newspapers claim almost half of all adspend in Sweden and the trend to downsize has extended to Stockholm. Dagens Nyheter, often dubbed "the Swedish Financial Times", went completely tabloid in October 2004.

Not even Sweden's love of all things net-related appears to have made a significant dent in papers' popularity. The internet now claims more than 7 per cent of all adspend, which is not surprising when internet penetration is one of the highest in the world: 74 per cent. The Economist Intelligence Unit reckons that Scandinavia is the most "e-ready" region in the world.

The country is also well known for its stringent restrictions regarding advertising to children under 12. It feels so strongly about this it tried to use its European Union presidency in 2001 to outlaw TV advertising to children across Europe. Yet as TV attracts only 22.2 per cent of adspend, many ads for children are found in magazines; reports suggest pester power still exists.

This could also be on account of the fact that ads targeting under-12s are permitted on the satellite channels TV3 and TV5 through a legal loophole: the channels are owned by Viasat, which is headquartered outside of Sweden.

Many believe this makes a mockery of the ad ban, particularly when two-thirds of Swedish homes receive cable or satellite channels.

Digital broadcasting has made rapid progress in Sweden and TV is expected to be fully digital by 2008.

Somewhat bizarrely, Sweden's most popular show is Kalle Anka (Donald Duck), a one-hour special Christmas edition of Disney clips which, screened at 3pm, is the cornerstone of Christmas TV. It's a 30-year-old tradition, 90 per cent of TVs tune in and for most homes, it's as much a part of Christmas as presents and a tree.


USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1= Skr

8.09 *Estimated

News- Mag-

Total papers azines TV Radio Cinema Outdoor Internet

1992 - - - - - - - -

1993 1,301 874 152 199 4 8 63 0

1994 1,516 961 173 281 20 10 71 0

1995 1,621 1,029 181 300 29 10 71 0

1996 1,619 998 201 299 39 10 71 0

1997 1,753 1,029 226 354 51 10 75 8

1998 1,946 1,104 267 396 64 9 80 26

1999 2,006 1,083 278 425 66 9 84 61

2000 2,284 1,155 323 490 73 10 105 128

2001 2,034 1,030 296 434 63 10 92 111

2002 1,955 956 274 426 58 10 99 132

2003 1,958 961 254 435 55 9 102 141

2004 2,000 967 256 449 60 9 103 158

2005* 2,109 1,006 273 457 64 11 120 178

2006* 2,253 1,046 295 497 68 11 136 200

2007* 2,367 1,089 310 521 71 12 147 218


1) Includes classified advertising

2) Excludes agency commission

3) Excludes production costs

4) After discounts

5) Magazines includes consumer and trade titles

6) Newspapers includes city, regional and evening titles

7) Includes advertising tax



Newspaper: Aftonbladet (daily, 442,000)

Business magazine: Sunt Fornuft (bi-monthly, 169,000)

Consumer magazine: Var Bostad (monthly, 934,000)

Most-watched TV programme (2004): Kalle Anka "Donald Duck" (3,685 000)

Best new TV format: Pop Idol 2004 (TV4)


Circulation: Tidningsstatistik

Readership: Research International

TV viewing: AC Nielsen


Newspapers: Aftonbladet Hierta, Dagens Nyheter

Magazines: Bonnier, Allers, Egmont, LRF

Television: SVT (public), Alma Media, Bonnier, MTG


Media topic du jour - Where ad breaks should be placed within programmes. Sweden's biggest commercial channel, TV4, recently lost a court case after placing ads in the middle of films. The films' directors sued them for infringing copyright.

Reigning media guru and why - Carl-Johan Bonnier, the chairman of the media conglomerate Bonnier. His family has been at the heart of Sweden's media scene for 200 years and employs 11,000 people.

Media mogul to be seen dining with and why - Christina Stenbeck, the owner of MTG. She's young, good-looking and rich, having inherited MTG from her father. She's also doing a great job.

Car to drive - Mini Cooper.

Top-selling beer brand - Norrlands Guld 14.7%.

Phone to carry - Sony Ericsson V800.

Whatever you do, don't say ... "What's so special about Donald Duck?"

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