Newsletter April 18: Q1 Nordic TV ratings plunging across the board, public service funding reform & more

18 April 2018

Q1 Nordic TV ratings
As we concluded last week, the local Swedish online video services are growing. Increased viewing also means greater commercial opportunities for AVOD players (see newsletter April 11). The flip side is a strong downturn for traditional TV, not only in Sweden but in all Nordic countries. Q1 2018 figures confirm this negative trend throughout the Nordics.

Average viewing time per age group Q1 18 compared to Q1 17 (%)

The steep decline in viewing in young age groups is hardly surprising. All Nordic countries show a similar pattern of approx. -20% viewing in age groups 10-25 year olds (see chart above).

Perhaps somewhat more of an eye opener is the drop in more commercial age groups, also taking into consideration the Winter Olympics in Q1. In Norway, 35-49 year olds dropped -17%. In Sweden the corresponding figure is -9%. In Finland, the average viewing time in ages 25-44 declined by -4%. Denmark defies the trend, with a stable viewing time in ages 35-49 compared to Q1 2017.

However, traditional TV still has the power to obtain larger reach (i e live audiences) than most other media. As an example, “Let’s dance” on Swedish TV4 recently attracted an audience of +1.5 million and the Swedish/Norwegian format “Mästarnas mästare” last Sunday attracted an audience of +2 million in SVT (online viewing not included). In Norway, the finale of TV2’s “Farmen kjendis” on February 12th attracted an audience of +1 million. Also, the season premiere of NRK’s “Mesternes mester” on January 5th attracted an audience of +1 million.

Public service funding reform
Last week, the Swedish government presented a bill that supports an income-based public service funding reform. The new proposed public service fee will be lower than today; capped at 1300 SEK per year and compulsory for all Swedes over 18 years (low income excluded).

Public service funding in the Nordics has been much debated in recent years, as consumers migrate online and use other devices to watch video. There has been a general criticism of the “old” TV set-based household fee that most countries have applied until now.

Finland decided to implement an income-based tax funding system in 2011 and public service has then seen its’ funds being cut with a strained Finnish economy. A month ago, the Danish parties announced that they would scrap the current license fee and cut the budget of DR, the Danish public broadcaster, by 20%. To avoid such moves and endorse independency, the money collected in the proposed Swedish bill will be kept separate from the state budget and run over 8 years (first period 10 years).

Netflix Q1 report & Mediavision soon to publish Nordic Video Insight
Streaming services are on the rise, certainly proved by the recently published Q1 report from Netflix. The American streaming service surpassed market expectations, adding 7.4 million subscribers during Q1, out of which 5.5 million (up +60% YOY) were from outside the US and 2 million (+11% YOY) were domestic. Netflix now boasts 125 million subscribers globally. The Nordics is showing strong growth as well and Mediavision will shortly report more details from our part of the world. Read more about the analysis “Nordic Video Insight” here.

Mediavision press releases:

Today’s DPO of Swedish Spotify has gathered much attention in both Sweden and internationally. The broad impact in Sweden is partly explained by Swedes’ great interest in digital media services. Mediavision finds that over 60 percent of Swedish households subscribe to at least one service for music or TV streaming.

Industry news

Netflix Q1 report beats forecasts
Netflix beat Wall Street expectations yet again with its Q1 report. Netflix added 7.41 million subscribers during Q1, Netflix had previously said it expected to add 6.35 million. Netflix now boasts 125 million subscribers worldwide.

Activision Blizzard partners with Nielsen
Activision Blizzard has announced a partnership with Nielsen for e-sports brand valuation. Nielsen, known for its TV ratings system, recently launched an e-sports division. Nielsen will begin tracking Overwatch and Call of Duty events this year.

Comcast & Netflix expand partnership
Comcast has expanded its partnership with Netflix. Comcast can now include a Netflix subscription in its existing Xfinity packages. Comcast launched Netflix on its X1 platform in 2016, today, nearly half of the X1 customers are actively using Netflix.

Finnish content producers form association
Content producers across the film and tv industries have come together to form Audiovisual Producers of Finland (AFPI). Mika Toivainen calls it a historic event and says that it will raise the collaboration within the industry to a new level.

Mediavision in the news

Miljardkriget rasar när spelmarknaden får nya regler
Regeringens förslag på en omreglering av den svenska spelmarknaden har utlöst ett krig på liv och död i två plan. Spelbolagen slåss intensivt för att befästa positionerna […].

Industry events

*Events where Mediavision will be presenting