The revenue of the media has declined about 17 per cent in real prices since the mid-2000 when at it’s highest. Total revenue of the media in 2016 was nearly 27,000 million ISK. Nearly half of the media revenue goes to television and next to newspapers (dailies and non-dailies). The public service broadcaster, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, retained about one fifth of the total revenue of the media and 15 per cent of the total advertisement revenue.
In the wake of the financial collapse in fall 2008 there was an appreciable slump in revenue of the media (i.e. newspapers, magazines and other periodicals, radio and television and web media). Between the year 2007 and 2010 the revenue of the media declined about a quarter, measured in fixed 2016 prices. Despite substantial decline this is somewhat lower than is claimed for some other countries¹. The decline was more serious in revenue drawn from advertisements than in users’ fees and revenue direct sale to customers. Revenue derived from advertisements have fallen about one fourth since it peaked in 2007 compared with nine per cent decline of revenue derived from users and sale, measured in fixed 2016 prices. In more recent years the revenue of the media has increased slightly and is now more than less comparable to what they were shortly after the turn of this century (see figure 1).
The fall in the revenue of the media is manifested differently between different media. Newspapers and magazines have suffered more severely than other kinds of media, which can largely be explained by changes in media consumption. The revenue of newspapers and magazines has hence dropped 45 per cent since in 2006, measured in 2016 prices. At the same time the revenue of broadcasting (both radio and television) has remained nearly stable while the revenue of the web media has increased manifold (see table 1).
|Table 1. Index of media revenue 1986-2016 (index 100=2016)|
|Mass media, total||Dailies and non-dailies||Magazines and periodicals||Radio||Television||Web media|
|Revenue in ISK. mill. 2016||26,970||7,025||1,435||3,497||12,986||2,027|
|Note: Daily and non-daily newspapers: Only dailies 1986-1994.|
New patterns in media consumption are partly captured in changed share of different media in the media revenue over time as shown in figure 2. In 2016 the share of television was 48 per cent compared with 40 per cent in 2000. Radio’s share has changed only slightly between the years 2000 and 2016, or from 12 to 13 per cent. At the same time the share of magazine and other periodicals fell from nine to five per cent and the share of daily and non-dailies dropped from 38 to 26 per cent. The share of the web media increased from mere one per cent in 2000 to eight per cent in 2016.
Figure 2. Distribution of media revenue 2000 and 2016, %
Of total revenue of the media in 2016 of nearly 29,000 million ISK, 21.2 thousand million ISK fell to private media and 5.8 million ISK to the public service broadcaster, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Between 1997 and 2016, the share of the public broadcaster in the total revenue of the media lowered from 26 to 21 per cent (see figure 3).
During the first decade in the aftermath of the abolition of the monopoly of the public service to broadcasting in 1986, the share of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service in broadcasting revenue declined fast. Since around 2000 it’s share has been more or less unchanged. In 2016, the public broadcaster retained 59 per cent of radio revenue and 29 per cent of television revenue, or 35 per cent of total broadcasting revenue.
In 2016, private media operators retained 11,500 million ISK of the advertisement revenue of the media compared with some 2,000 million ISK of the public broadcaster. In 2016 the share of the public broadcaster in advertisement revenue of the media was 15 per cent. At the same time the share of the public broadcaster in advertisement revenue of radio was 35 per cent and of television 39 per cent. Together the share of the public broadcaster in radio and television was 38 per cent. In the first decade, or so, after liberalization of broadcasting the share of the public broadcaster of advertising revenue of radio and television fell sharply, but has since levered out (see figure 4).
About the data
Information about revenue of the Icelandic media are derived from information from the media companies to the Icelandic Media Commission (since 2011), to Statistics Iceland and annual accounts. In the instances when information is lacking from media operators revenues are estimated from VAT tax reports and other available information. Media revenue is here defined as revenue from users (subscription fees, single copy sales and pay-per view, broadcasting poll tax) and advertisements and sponsoring. The data does not include foreign media. Information about individual private media is not provided due to rules of confidentiality.
¹It is estimated that the fall in revenue of the US media in the aftermath of the banking crisins in 2008 was 40 per cent (R. G. Picard, The Economics and Financing of Media Companies. 2. rev. ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 2011).