World Media 2006: Sweden

This peaceful, prosperous land with its superb living standards is also the most over-regulated democracy in the world. Restrictions on TV advertising mean print launches are still big news.

If economic migration patterns are anything to go by, Sweden is the most desirable place to live in Europe. For decades it has been the destination of choice for wave after wave of asylum seekers and refugees - these days more than 10 per cent of its population are immigrants.

You can easily see why they might be lured there. Sweden is peaceful (it has pursued a policy of armed neutrality for more than a century), law abiding (despite the fact that, unaccountably, one prime minister and another senior politician have been assassinated in living memory), has a standard of living second to none and the highest life expectancy in Europe.

Its economy is chugging along rather nicely but there is nothing new in that - and Sweden has never been prone to the cycles of boom and bust that other industrialised nations seem addicted to. The country is independently minded (it is a member of the European Union but, like the UK, not in the Euro zone) and has a superb welfare system funded by high taxes. Sweden recently decided to phase out its nuclear power programme.

In other words, this country is an eco-friendly, liberal-left dream come true. But let's put it another way - it is also the most puritanical and over-regulated democracy in the world and nowhere is the impact of this seen more clearly than in its media and advertising industries.

For a start, there is comparatively little television advertising. And what there is tends to be po-faced and sanitised for fear of offending minority interests or regulatory codes. You cannot advertise at all to children - a situation Sweden would like to export to the rest of the EU.

So Sweden is one of the few remaining markets in Europe where magazine launches and newspaper turf wars are massive news. And Stockholm is, of course, the home of a media innovation that has swept the globe over the past decade - the Metro commuter freesheet.

The television market is not wholly moribund, of course. In fact, Sweden has set a hugely ambitious target of 2008 for switching off its analogue signal. However, much to the disappointment of advertisers, few channels on the new digital terrestrial platform have decided to adopt an advertising-funded free-to-air business model.

New niche channels to emerge on multichannel platforms last year included Sport-Expressen and a business channel backed by Dagens Industri.

ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1= Skr 7.35. *Estimated Total TV Newspapers Magazines Radio 1994 1,668 309 1,057 190 22 1995 1,783 331 1,133 199 32 1996 1,781 329 1,098 221 43 1997 1,929 390 1,132 248 57 1998 2,141 436 1,214 293 70 1999 2,207 467 1,191 306 73 2000 2,513 539 1,271 356 81 2001 2,238 477 1,133 325 69 2002 2,151 469 1,052 302 64 2003 2,154 479 1,058 280 61 2004 2,227 508 1,069 277 67 2005 2,334 531 1,096 287 72 2006* 2,442 555 1,119 297 76 2007* 2,552 575 1,147 306 81 2008* 2,686 600 1,175 317 87 Total Outdoor Online Cinema 1994 1,668 78 0 11 1995 1,783 78 0 11 1996 1,781 79 0 11 1997 1,929 82 8 11 1998 2,141 88 28 10 1999 2,207 92 68 10 2000 2,513 115 141 11 2001 2,238 101 122 11 2002 2,151 108 145 11 2003 2,154 112 155 10 2004 2,227 127 171 8 2005 2,334 138 202 9 2006* 2,442 150 235 10 2007* 2,552 165 267 11 2008* 2,686 182 313 12 Adspend notes 1) After discounts. 2) Includes classified. 3) Excludes agency commission. 4) Excludes production costs. FACTFILE Highest circulating titles - Newspaper: Aftonbladet (daily, 452,000 copies) - Business magazine: Privata Affarer (daily, 82,000 copies) - Consumer magazine: Vi i Villa (1,980,000 copies) Top TV shows - Most watched: TV programme (2004) Melodifestivalen - Best new TV format: World's Apart - a reality show in which Swedish children are placed in new families around the world Major measurement tools - Circulation: Tidningsstatistik - Readership: Research International - TV viewing: AC Nielsen Main media owners - Newspapers: Aftonbladet Hierta, Dagens Nyheter - Magazines: Bonnier, Allers, Egmont, LRF - Television: SVT (public), Alma Media, Bonnier, MTG

THE LOWDOWN

Media topic du jour: Can advertising regulations become any more puritanical?

Reigning media guru and why: Leif Pagrotsky, the minister of education, research and culture, has been attempting to make the range of channels available on digital terrestrial television broader and more appealing.

Media mogul to be seen dining with: Pelle Tornberg, the chief executive of Metro International, is always good value on the global future of newspapers as a medium.

Car to drive: Volvo XC70.

Phone to carry: Samsung SGH-X640.

Whatever you do, don't say: Advertising aimed at children is not just for Christmas.

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off Campaign's relaunch than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).