Ohlsson, Jonas. the Nordic Media Market 2015: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden

By Soukup, Paul A. | Communication Research Trends, September 2015 | Go to article overview

Ohlsson, Jonas. the Nordic Media Market 2015: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden


Soukup, Paul A., Communication Research Trends


Ohlsson, Jonas. The Nordic Media Market 2015: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden. Goteborg: NORDICOM, 2015. Pp. 76. ISBN 978-9187957-05-5 (paper) 250 Kr., 25.00 [euro].

Part of the Nordic Media Trends series, this large format volume provides a data-driven overview of the news media in the Nordic countries. Ohlsson notes that while previous publications in the series have worked extensively with statistics, "The present publication uses a somewhat more qualitative approach, as it analyzes current trends in Nordic media development against previous characterizations of the Nordic media landscape" (p. 7).

Acknowledging the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT)--which affect traditional borders, the reach of the media, media costs, and even global outlook--the report offers a comparative analysis across the five Nordic countries. Ohlsson structures this report against the theoretical model proposed by Hallin and Mancini (2004). Noting that parts of the model have become outdated by the ICTs, Ohlsson focuses on four aspects that Hallin and Mancini identified: "(1) the involvement of the state in the media market, (2) the market position of the press, (3) the political parallelism of the press, and (4) the market position of the public service broadcasters" (p. 12).

Given the importance of local context, Chapter 2 sets out an economic overview of the Nordic region from the perspective of the press or media industry. Economic recovery from the worldwide financial crisis dominated the last decade, with different Nordic countries recovering at different rates. Within this picture, the countries show strong penetration of broadband (from 87%-95%), smart phones (63%-73%), and tablets (28%-61%). Advertising markets also grew during the period, with the largest share in each country held by newspapers, followed by television and direct mail.

Chapter 3 surveys media policy in each of the countries. The countries have different models for funding public broadcasting, both in terms of the method (license fees, taxes, advertising, etc.) and amount of funding. Ohlsson notes the ongoing deregulation of commercial broadcasting as an important change in policy. One aspect that stands out--at least to this U.S. reader--comes along with what Hallin and Mancini termed the "democratic corporatist media system" followed in the Nordic countries: state-funded press subsidies. These occur either in terms of direct support (grants given to the press) or in terms of indirect support such as lower VAT levels.

Chapter 4 turns to the specific focus of the report, the Nordic newspaper industry. Though the number of paid-for newspapers has remained relatively steady in every country except Finland, each country did show a decline in newspaper sales, particularly after 2009. Ohlsson also points out a different trend in free newspapers, like the Metro, whose namesakes also appear in many other European countries. The circulation of these papers rose quickly but then fell somewhat with the financial crisis. …

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