Global platforms are strengthening their grip on the Nordic media markets

13.10.22 | News
Digitala nyhetsmedier
Michael Bager/Jysk Fynske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix
Global platform companies like Google and Facebook have strengthened their financial and technological positions in the Nordic media markets over the past five years. A clear majority of digital advertising in the Nordic Region is now invested global platform companies rather than domestic media, according to a new report from the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg.

The report “Nordic news media in global competition: The conditions faced by news journalism in the digital platform economy” shows that the Nordic media markets have undergone major changes since 2016.

“The positions these global platforms have built up in the Nordic markets allow them to exert influence on competitiveness in key parts of the digital media,” says Tobias Lindberg, a researcher at NORDICOM.

Google, Apple and Facebook are driving forces

Platform companies such as Alphabet (Google), Apple and Meta (Facebook) have been driving forces behind developments in the Nordic media markets. Their strategies and actions have changed the infrastructure of the advertising markets, where advertisers invest their marketing budgets and how the general public chooses to take part in news. During the period covered by the report, the platform companies have strengthened their grip on the digital infrastructure of the advertising and audience markets and significantly increased their share of the advertising spend.   

Last year, an estimated 72% of digital advertising in Sweden was with non-Nordic platforms. In Denmark and Finland, the corresponding figure was 64%, in Norway approximately 59%, The share was smaller in the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland.  

Increased profitability

Since 2016, many Nordic media companies have also improved their profitability, partly by introducing new digital payment models for online news.

The report also shows that it is the large media groups in the big Nordic countries that have had the greatest success in persuading digital users to pay for editorial content and that cost-reduction measures have also contributed to their profitability. 

The full study is presented in the report “Nordic news media in global competition”.

The report will be presented at the Nordic media conference on 18 November

NORDICOM’s Tobias Lindberg will present the report at “A more democratic dialogue – The influence of the tech giants and Nordic solutions”, a conference in Oslo on 18 October. The Norwegian government is hosting the conference as part of its Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2022. Anette Trettebergstuen, the Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, will attend. You can register and attend in person or watch a livestream.

Nordic knowledge and perspective

The report is one of several pan-Nordic initiatives launched by the culture ministers to learn more about and gain a perspective on how the tech giants and new digital platforms affect the conditions for democratic dialogue in the Nordic Region and in the news media. This topic is one of the priorities identified in their programme for co-operation on cultural policy 2021–2024: “Arts and culture – driving force for sustainable development in the Nordic Region”.