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Population: 5.5 million
Internet penetration: 98%
17th June 2024

The Norwegian media landscape combines strong national legacy brands and public service media, with a reputation for innovation in content and business models. Willingness to pay for news remains high among the population, but this year also saw severe cuts and restructuring among commercial news providers.

Norwegian consumers are again those most willing to pay for news across all 47 countries surveyed this year. The proportion of paying users (40%) seems to be levelling out though. Norway has a strong newspaper reading tradition, and the transition to digital subscriptions has been promoted with hybrid solutions that typically bundle paper and digital content and by publishers’ willingness and ability to focus on a long-term approach to growing their subscriber base. This, and the absence of freesheets, helps to explain the relative success of online news payment.

The top national titles that our respondents said they were subscribing to online remained VG, Aftenposten, and Dagbladet. But a new addition to Norwegian’s subscription menu is bundled subscriptions providing access to all newspapers owned by media conglomerates. Alt+ from local news owner Amedia and Schibsted's bundle Full Tilgang are both having some success with 10% and 6% of subscribers respectively choosing them.

Results from the third quarter of 2023 suggest a slightly better year for the newspaper industry. However, there are some clouds on the horizon. It is hard to get young adults to subscribe – the average age of Amedia’s subscribers is 50. Several local newspapers have also reduced the frequency of their print editions, because of readers moving online and high printing costs. Leading tabloid VG also stopped print distribution to some parts of Northern Norway, saying it is no longer economically sustainable.

TV 2, the second-largest national television brand, announced major cuts: 400m NOK (€34m) with 45–50 redundancies. The company blamed increased costs for production and content, a weaker currency, tougher competition, and investment in new technology. Another cause is probably linked to the government’s introduction of VAT on video news in 2022, but not on written news and photographs. The change was designed to keep streaming services such as Netflix outside the VAT exemption, a longstanding media policy in Norway. The change will cost TV 2 150m NOK (€13m) annually. Late 2023 also saw the national news agency NTB announcing substantial redundancies of 147 full-time equivalent posts, due to revenues being down by 10%. In addition, reforms to modernise the press subsidy scheme were introduced, providing changes in the criteria for support and more support for local news media. These reforms were designed to adapt subsidies to the digital era but have been criticised for their design by companies and media researchers.

In December Schibsted, the major media conglomerate, announced a formal separation between its news operations and the rest of its activities. In Norway Schibsted owns the largest tabloid VG, the largest broadsheet Aftenposten, regional newspapers, and legacy news titles in neighbouring countries. Schibsted’s most successful digital business is primarily in online classified ad sites. The new entity, provisionally called Schibsted Media, will house the editorial news businesses, while the profitable digital ads services will go to a separate entity called Schibsted Marketplaces. Commentators have welcomed the fact that the news operation will be owned by a trust – but there is concern about future income streams, and whether hiving off tech and data analysis expertise might weaken the news operation.

The year has also been marked by multiple political scandals. At the end of the year, the war in Ukraine was overshadowed by Hamas’s attack on Israel, and Israel’s subsequent invasion of Gaza. The coverage of the conflict prompted a vigorous debate about whether mainstream news media were biased. VG was criticised for being pro-Israel in a high-profile letter by a well-known artist, while NRK received numerous complaints following jokes about the victims in Gaza on a news satire show in October.

Publicly funded NRK remains a strong presence in Norwegian news as the most trusted brand compared to the others surveyed, the most used offline brand and even strengthening its position online in weekly usage this year. A major press ethics scandal – involving a high-profile television documentary (Bamsegutt) that got withdrawn following public and journalistic scrutiny – has thus apparently not damaged the PSM’s reputation. NRK has also positioned itself as a frontrunner in the use of AI in news production. In the project Norge i rødt, hvitt og grått1 (Norway in red, white and grey), AI-analysed satellite photos of the Norwegian landscape from 2017 to 2022 showed the environmental degradation caused by the expansion of roads, industry, etc.

Janne Biedilæ Bjørgan and Hallvard Moe
University of Bergen 

Changing media

The decline of TV and print seems to have flattened out, but social media fell 4pp this year, likely as a result of Facebook’s algorithms deprioritising news.

Pay for online news


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Trust in news overall



This year’s survey shows a very slight increase in overall trust levels (55%, +2pp), which is also reflected at brand level. So-called alternative media site, granted governmental press subsidies for the first time, saw a 7pp increase in trust, but still ranks significantly below established news providers.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 91.89

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


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