Skip to main content



Population: 4 million
Internet penetration: 93%
17th June 2024

Croatia’s small media market continues to be impacted by recent economic crises and the dominant role of big digital platforms. Offline use is dominated by two foreign-owned TV news channels (Nova and RTL) together with the public broadcaster (HRT). Long-term financial pressures have led to the closure of several local TV and radio stations, while consolidation in the local newspaper sector has highlighted concerns about increased political influence.

Overall advertising revenue grew by 5% in 2023 to reach €266m and finally return to 2% of the Croatian GDP (last seen in 2007). The greatest growth (10%) was in internet display, while the largest decline (7%) was in print. Television retains the lion’s share of advertising revenue (47%), with internet display accounting for a quarter (25%).1 In recent years publishers’ share of online advertising revenues has been rising, by 10% in 2022.2 Meanwhile, in spite of some growth, very few Croatians are prepared to pay directly for online news via subscription, membership, or one-off payment – just 9%, one of the lowest figures in our survey.

The major commercial TV companies have been foreign-owned for over two decades, with the United Group operating the cable news channel N1 and the top-ranked free-to-air station, Nova. Meanwhile Czech-based Central European Media Enterprises (CME) has owned the popular RTL TV since 2022. Austrian and German companies remain key players in the print market. The tabloid 24 sata, owned by the Austria Styria group, is the best-selling newspaper and attracts large numbers of readers online, while the domestic-owned Hanza media is the market leader in print media overall.

Public broadcaster HRT relies on a compulsory licence fee of around €10.40 a month for the majority of its funding, with advertising accounting for just 7% of its income. But budgets are under pressure due to freezing of the licence fee since 2010, combined with recent rises in inflation. Press reports revealed recent plans by the HRT Director General, Robert Šveb, to cut costs and jobs to secure the company’s future viability. While HRT claims it is editorially independent, as required by law, it is less trusted than the leading commercial operators, and many industry and academic experts highlight its continuing pro-government bias. In spite of this, HRT is in second place as an offline news source this year in terms of reach (after Nova TV with 49% reach), but it does much less well online, with just 17% of our survey respondents using it weekly.

The financial crunch prompted the closure of several popular local media which were respected for their investigative and critical reporting. These closures highlighted the dependence of local media on funding by local governments, and the possible influence that could give over their coverage.

Slovak media holding JOJ Media House sold its share in Novi list, the publisher of three local papers – Novi list, Glas Istre, and Zadarski List – to the locally owned Media Solutions, publisher of the local paper Glas Slavonije. JOJ cited high paper and energy costs as reasons for the sale and the subsequent planned consolidation. But the strong ties between the owners of Media Solutions and the ruling party, HDZ, led the Croatian Journalists Association to criticise this as an attempt to politically control the local press. This is particularly sensitive since 2024 is a super-election year in Croatia, with parliamentary elections held in April, EU elections in June, and presidential elections due in December.

Trust in institutions is traditionally low in Croatia and media are part of that trend. The coming election year is likely to see intensified attacks between political rivals, with the main actors continuing attempts to delegitimise their opponents with accusations of a lack of patriotism or of dishonesty.

State advertising was at the centre of a scandal in which a government minister was fired after his adviser was caught trying to arrange a kickback from a local TV station. This focused attention on the lack of transparency in government advertising and promotion on TV and radio. A report by GONG3 found that over €7m was spent by government and state agencies between 2017 and 2021 on sponsorship or advertising in the media. The main media beneficiaries included two major TV stations – Nova TV and RTL TV – and the largest print companies Styria and Hanza media. Opposition parties and the Croatian Journalists Association called for the government and the media to provide the details of this spending, but to no avail.

Zrinjka Peruško
Centre for Media and Communication Research, University of Zagreb

Changing media

TV remains an important source of news, well ahead of social media, while print’s position today (20%) is less half of what it was eight years ago (43%).

Pay for online news



Trust in news overall



Trust in news continues to decline, amidst a growing polarisation of society. It declined from a peak of 45% in 2021 (COVID-19 increase) to 32% this year. Despite this, some brands have increased trust in the last year, including news portal Telegram (+4pp) which is known for investigative critical journalism and has stepped up its efforts to recruit subscribers.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 68.79

Measure of press freedom from NGO Reporters Without Borders based on expert assessment. More at

Share news via social, messaging or email


signup block