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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 17:15 GMT
The press in Sweden
Swedish press graphic

Sweden's nine million inhabitants are served by about 170 newspapers with a total circulation of 4.1 million.

More than 80% of adults read a newspaper on an average day, placing Sweden close to the top in newspaper consumption in the world - behind Norway but almost on a par with Finland.

Two factors distinguish the Swedish newspaper market - almost all titles have a strong local or regional base and almost all morning newspapers are sold by subscription with early morning home delivery.

Around half of Sweden's newspapers are only published once or twice a week and have a very low circulation. The 'metropolitan' morning papers - Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet in Stockholm, Goeteborgs-Posten in Gothenburg and Sydsvenska Dagbladet in Malmoe - account for about 25% of all sales.

Like other countries in Europe, Sweden has seen a steady, but slight decline in newspaper sales since the mid-1980s, but figures have now stabilised.

Three titles - Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenska Dagbladet and Goeteborgs-Posten - switched from broadsheet to 'compact' format in October 2004.

Direct government subsidy to economically weak papers was introduced in the early 1970s. While important to some smaller titles, this still accounts for only three per cent of papers' total revenue. Subsidies were controversial when first introduced, but are no longer the topic of much debate.

The lower rate of VAT levied on newspapers - six per cent rather than the standard 25% - has much greater significance for Swedish newspapers' finances.

The most important newspaper proprietors are the Bonnier group, which is also a major book publisher and one of two principal magazine publishers in Sweden, and the Norwegian media group Schibsted.

Main papers

Aftonbladet

Based: Stockholm
Founded: 1830
Circulation: 422,000
Owner: Aftonbladet Hierta AB

The biggest-selling paper not only in Sweden but across the Nordic region, the Stockholm-based tabloid Aftonbladet is one of only two truly national titles. Described as an evening paper, Aftonbladet appears on news stands in Stockholm at around 0830 and follows the classic tabloid format, with plenty of celebrity news, sport, sex and crime. Part-owned by the Swedish trade unions, Aftonbladet is described as "independent social democrat".


Expressen

Based: Stockholm
Founded: 1945
Circulation: 335,000
Owner: Bonnier

Another Stockholm 'evening' tabloid, Expressen is a national rather than regional title. Politically liberal, it is Sweden's youngest major paper, with a classic tabloid format. The paper was criticised by the Swedish press ombudsman for publishing a picture of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh lying on a stretcher after she was fatally stabbed in September 2003.


Dagens Nyheter

Based: Stockholm
Founded: 1864
Circulation: 363,000
Owner: Bonnier

The biggest-selling morning paper in Sweden, Stockholm's Dagens Nyheter has a sober format, with a number of stories sharing the front page and continuing inside. Traditionally a broadsheet, the paper was relaunched with tabloid supplements in 2003 and its main section went 'compact' in October 2004. The paper describes itself as "independent liberal" and says it "promotes the basic values of an open society", including common sense and tolerance.


Goeteborgs-Posten

Based: Goeteborg
Founded: 1858
Circulation: 247,000
Owner: Goeteborgs-Posten Group

The biggest-selling morning paper in western Sweden and the second biggest in the country as a whole. Goeteborgs-Posten claims to be read by 67 per cent of 15-79 year-olds in Greater Gothenburg. Politically liberal, the paper was traditionally published in broadsheet format, but was relaunched as a 'compact' title in October 2004. Several stories share the front page alongside tasters for the various sections and a number of supplements.


Svenska Dagbladet

Based: Stockholm
Founded: 1884
Circulation: 185,000
Owner: SvD-Gruppen (99.4% owned by Schibsted)

Formerly a broadsheet, the "independent, conservative" Svenska Dagbladet is the second biggest-selling morning paper in the Stockholm region. The paper targets "inquisitive and well-educated people in Greater Stockholm" with a lively tabloid format, and culture and business supplements. It claims to be "a morning paper and business paper in one".


Sydsvenska Dagbladet

Based: Malmoe
Founded: 1848
Circulation: 136,000
Owner: Bonnier

A "liberal, independent" daily, Malmoe-based Sydsvenska Dagbladet is the leading morning paper in southern Sweden. It tends to focus on regional stories on its front page, but its editorial comment covers both national and international issues. The paper went 'compact' in October 2004.


BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Sweden
13 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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