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Population: 10 million
Internet penetration: 97%
17th June 2024

Sweden is an example of a country with strong but separate public service radio and TV media organisations and a commercial media sector that has successfully persuaded people to pay for online news. Despite concentrated media ownership, government policies are focused on supporting plurality at national and local level, in part through press subsidies. Sweden is also one of the pioneers of using AI in the newsroom. 

Sweden has a relatively strong news media landscape by international standards with even commercial news publishers getting some support from public subsidies. Until about a decade ago Swedish news publishers relied mostly on advertising revenues, while direct reader revenues were less significant. However, while the online advertising market continues to prosper, around two-thirds of all revenues go to Alphabet and Meta, leaving less for publishers. As commercial publishers’ advertising revenues have declined, they’ve been cutting costs and looking for new sources of income, primarily from readers. The largest news publishers have built income from print subscriptions, which have accounted for approximately three-quarters of their overall reader revenues. In 2023 the Swedish newspaper industry managed to sustain overall reader revenues (6250.9m SEK, €545m), at a similar level to the previous year, with the share coming from online news increasing from 24% in 2022 to 28% in 2023.1 Over the past decade news publishers have reduced the frequency of print publication and distribution in rural areas as costs per print copy increase with reduced subscriber numbers.

Sweden, along with Norway, has consistently been at the top of our countries in terms of people paying for news, with our 2024 survey reporting 31% in 2024 compared to 33% in 2023. However, online news subscribers tend to be less loyal than for print, often taking up special offers for a relatively short period of time. Swedish news publishers are on a path from all free content, to some free, to working with paywalls, and are now increasing their prices.2

Four Swedish news publishers with national coverage have been successful in charging for news. Two are owned by the Norwegian Schibsted group (Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet), and the other two by Sweden’s Bonnier group (Expressen and Dagens Nyheter). The Bonnier Group were recognised for developing the best reader revenue business with their Bonnier News+ solution, offering its subscribers access to online content from more than 150 newspapers and magazines.3

The evening tabloids Aftonbladet (48%) and Expressen (32%) have the highest reach online (alongside SVT with 36%). Swedish news publishers tend to offer some news for free (such as newswire) and then paywall premium content or services, with news alongside services for weight-management, etc.

Swedish news publishers are known for being digital forerunners. Recently, organisations such as Aftonbladet (Schibsted) and Expressen (Bonnier) have expanded into audio formats such as podcasts as well as TV. Aftonbladet has invested in news personalisation, whereas Svenska Dagbladet (Schibsted) has adopted a ‘podcast-first’ approach. As elsewhere, Swedish news publishers have started investing in and incorporating AI, to improve efficiency. For example, Aftonbladet has created an AI hub with a cross-functional team, while PSM Swedish Radio (SR) use AI in many ways, including synthetic voices and transcribing audio, but block platforms from training their AI on their content. This is in line with both PSM and commercial news publishers continuously innovating, but having become more cautious when it comes to third-party platform companies, seeking to reduce their dependence on them. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top three social media platforms in Sweden, in general and for news. But while two-thirds report using Facebook, only one-quarter use it for news. Facebook has repeatedly deprioritised news in their algorithms, and the platform has lost some of its value for publishers.

PSM are repeatedly criticised by other publishers for their innovative activities, by the far right for not offering credible news, and also criticised for not reaching the entire public. PSM in Sweden are required to own and control their own distribution infrastructure, and thus cannot rely unduly on external platforms to increase reach. SVT social media guidelines reflect this approach: key features include safeguarding their independence and that their social media activities facilitate access in a positive way, with user data managed properly, and the brand protected by clear separation from advertising.

Oscar Westlund
Oslo Metropolitan University and University of Gothenburg

Changing media 

Swedes predominantly access the news online, with reach for both television and print declining over time. Use of social media for accessing news has decreased in recent years.

Pay for online news


Listen to podcast in the last month



Trust in news overall



Trust in news overall has remained unchanged at 50%, since the very significant boost it had after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst the brands surveyed, Swedes express most trust in the two public service media (PSM) organisations and local newspapers, and the least trust in alternative news media.

RSF World Press Freedom Index


Score 88.32

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


1 TU Mediefakta, Läsarintäkterna bibehölls tack vare fortsatt digital tillväxt.

2 Thomas Baekdal, Gratis, lite gratis, betalvägg och höjda priser.

3 Tidningsutgivarna, Vinnarna I Årets Dagstidning 2024 har korats, 20 Mar. 2024.

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