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Population: 5.6 million
Internet penetration: 94%
17th June 2024

Finland’s news media environment features a strong regional press, a strong public service broadcaster (Yle), one widely read national upmarket daily (Helsingin Sanomat), and two popular evening tabloids, both reaching over half of the adult population. The digital transition continues with several regional newspapers moving away from daily print publication.

Declining print revenues and increasing delivery costs have hit newspapers hard in sparsely populated Finland. Newspaper companies tried to reduce costs through acquisitions and by reducing the number of weekdays when readers receive their paper in print. In the first half of 2023, five regional newspapers announced plans to do this. For example, Kaleva in the Oulu region now only appears in print from Monday to Saturday.

While revenues from print continue to decline, digital earnings are not growing much either. Newspaper online advertising (free city papers included) decreased 1.4% from 2022 to 2023,1 and according to our survey, the share of payers for online news has stayed flat since 2020 and is now 20%. Subscriptions are heavily concentrated, with 51% of Finnish respondents with a current digital subscription saying it is to Helsingin Sanomat. Strikingly too, 38% say that they are paying for regional or local news online. Both are high figures internationally.

In March 2021, one of the two Finnish evening tabloids, Iltalehti, introduced a paid ‘Plus’ section, while most of the site can still be read for free. This has proved a successful move because 18% of the subscribers in our survey now say they have subscribed to Iltalehti Plus. In February 2024, the other Finnish evening tabloid, Ilta-Sanomat, followed Iltalehti’s example and introduced its own paid ‘Extra’ section. Both tabloids now publish a few paid stories per day and price their subscription at €6.99 per month.

There are also efforts for curating news from different outlets in a single user-friendly service. A Finnish startup, Briif, selects newspaper and magazine stories that it considers interesting for its target group and delivers them in audio for €11.99 per month or €99.99 per year.2 Briif focuses particularly on young women, and has a contract with several media houses, including Otava, Sanoma, and the Financial Times. The idea is that the media houses are paid in proportion to the content that is listened to. Briif aims to expand into other European markets, with articles in the local language.

The concentration of Finnish regional media into the hands of two main players, Sanoma and Keskisuomalainen, continued, with Sanoma buying Länsi-Suomi and merging it with Satakunnan Kansa, another regional paper appearing in Western Finland. Keskisuomalainen, for its part, acquired PunaMusta’s media businesses including Karjalainen, a regional paper in Eastern Finland.

In 2023 there was a major deal within Finland’s Swedish-language news media. Sweden’s Bonnier became a majority owner of Hufvudstadsbladet and two local newspapers, Västra Nyland and Östra Nyland. These papers were previously wholly owned by Konstsamfundet, a wealthy association promoting art and culture for Swedish-speaking Finns and paying its newspapers’ losses. It has promised to continue its support to some extent, even though the aim is for profitability.

Finnish major news companies are actively adopting artificial intelligence tools into their operations and have set up special teams for that. In some newsrooms, generative AI already helps in composing news headlines, shortening stories to the desired length, or writing summaries of larger articles or themes.

The position of Finnish public service media Yle has long been a contentious issue in Finnish media policy. Private media companies have blamed the PSB for unfair competition in the digital world while the population largely see Yle as trustworthy and important. The main parties (National Coalition Party and Finns Party) in the current right-wing government previously proposed cutting Yle’s funding, and a parliamentary working group is reviewing Yle’s public service remit, funding, and its relationship with commercial media. The report is expected in May or June 2024. Yle’s half-billion-euro budget is funded mainly by the annual Yle-tax of a maximum of €163 collected from Finnish taxpayers.

The changing media environment and new business models have also created pressures to update the Journalistic Guidelines, the major self-regulatory ethical guidebook for Finnish journalists, with updated guidelines accepted in April 2024. One addition in the new version is a statement that sponsored articles are allowed, but that the funder must be clearly stated if they affect the choice of subject area of the sponsored contents. All other decisions about journalistic content must be made independently of the funder, it says. The new guidelines come into effect in October.

Esa Reunanen
Tampere University, Finland

Changing media

The use of online news sources is unchanged, with almost 90% weekly reach, while television news and the printed press continue their slow decline.

Pay for online news


Listen to podcast in the last month



Trust in news overall



Finnish news remains the most highly trusted among the countries surveyed, with no major changes from 2022. The news media in Finland are not politically polarised, so politically based scepticism felt by a minority towards the news media targets all the major news brands. For some others, scepticism seems to be linked to an outlet’s tabloid image.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 86.55

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



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