Lowered digital VAT & the re-regulated gambling market

27 February 2019

The Swedish government has decided to lower the VAT (Value Added Tax) for digital newspapers, magazines and books from 25 to 6 percent. This has long been a demanded change, especially from Swedish news media companies. This week we’re also taking a look at gambling advertising in Sweden – a heavily debated subject since it has increased significantly following the market re-regulation.

On July 1st, VAT for digital newspapers, magazines and books will be lowered to 6 percent in Sweden, equivalent to the tax of their physical counterparts. Local media reacted very positively to the news while audiobook streaming service Storytel’s stock jumped 6 percent.

Digital subscription services affected by the change, such as Readly and Storytel, hope to be strengthened in a fierce battle over the consumers. 80% of Swedish households subscribe to at least one digital media service as of today. With Spotify as a locomotive, streaming audio subscriptions reach well above 60% in household penetration. Video streaming has a subscription level of 50% while text sits at close to 30%. Video today attains the highest share of consumers media wallet.

Household penetration of media subscription services, Sweden, Q3 2018 (%)Sweden’s re-regulated gambling market

Since the re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market, 69 companies have acquired a Swedish license. Prior to the re-regulation, gambling actors significantly increased their advertising spend. The general perception was that a temporary fight over market shares was driving the advertising to new heights, and that “normal” levels were to be expected again once the new legislation was implemented. However, we haven’t seen advertising slow down yet – au contraire. All Swedish commercial TV broadcasters have actually increased their amount of gambling ads, as all licensed companies now are free to advertise in Swedish media.

Gambling ads share of total delivered TRPs per channel house, January 2018 vs January 2019 (%)
Sweden’s minister of public administration Ardalan Shekarabi calls for change and vows the gambling actors to come up with a sustainable solution. For comparison, Italy recently implemented a total ban on all forms of gambling ads, and in the UK self-regulatory measures have been implemented. Where is the Swedish market heading? Read the full post on our blog.

Mediavision blogs:

The Swedish gambling market: Part 3
On Jan 1st, 2019 the re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market was set in place. Since then, a good number of foreign gambling actors have gotten a Swedish license. According to SpelinspektionenSweden’s governing gambling body, 69 […].

Mediavision press releases:

Household media spend on the rise
Swedish households continuously spend more money on media services. During 2018 an average Swedish household spent 450 SEK per month on media subscriptions. The appetite for video services remain high, video spend has increased by […].

Industry news:

Spotify launches in India
In a press release Spotify announces its official launch in India, the worlds second-most populous country. With the launch Spotify is rolling out a series of new features including multi-language music recommendations and city specific playlists.

MTG sells its stake in Nova Broadcasting
MTG has agreed to sell its majority stake in Nova Broadcasting Group to Advance Media Group. Nova as a whole is valued at SEK 1.9 billion, MTG’s stake of 95% is expected to generate a net profit of SEK 1.3 billion.

Dreamhack signs licensing deal with 7Sports
7Sports, the sports unit of German media company ProSiebenSat 1, has signed a licensing deal with Dreamhack for coverage of its events. Dreamhack will host 13 events in 2019 across eight countries and plans to produce more than 900 hours of video footage.

Discovery swings to profit in Q4
Discovery swung to a profit in the fourth quarter after posting a loss in the year-earlier period. Despite this, the stock was down on Tuesday as the company failed to reach analyst estimates for earnings and revenue.

Digital ad revenue record
During 2018 Swedish daily press upped digital ad revenue by 4%, summing up to SEK 902 million. Meanwhile ad revenue for printed newspapers dropped by 13 percent. The increase in digital ad revenue is not enough to compensate for the loss in print, says TU.

Mediavision in the news:

Nordic Q4 e-sports, gaming audience reaches 1.2 million daily
Electronic sports and gaming attracted 1.2 million Nordic online video viewers per day on average in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Swedish consultancy Mediavision. Viewers are […].

Industry events

  • MIPTV: April, 8-11, Cannes, France

*Events where Mediavision will be presenting