Many newspapers started web versions in the mid-90s or soon after. Today, almost all Swedish newspapers have digital versions, however, they are usually not very profitable. Attempts to convert traditional readers into digital readers are increasing with the decline of printed newspapers. Several newspapers have started a Sunday edition of the paper as online only, in order to attract readers (and advertisers) to the digital edition.
The most popular online news medium by far is Aftonbladet.se, founded by the namesake newspaper, as early as 1994. With few exceptions, it dominates the local or regional newspaper market in all areas of Sweden. Expressen, the other tabloid newspaper on the market holds the number two spot in terms of national online reach. In terms of readership, it is evident that the two printed tabloids have gradually been replaced by the online versions. Thus, the increase in online readership has compensated for the decline in print circulation. Thanks to their strong online reach, Aftonbladet and Expressen are the only Swedish newspapers that have been able to increase their advertising sales in the digital era.
The reach of the two main television websites, SVT.se and TV4.se, is significantly lower than that of the national tabloids. However, Play-services and on-demand television, have increased dramatically since its introduction. Around 30 percent of Swedes watch on-demand television on an average day. The public service company SVT is the strongest in this market.
Sveriges Radio began podcasting in 2005. The most popular podcasts are, in general, the independent ones, but number 1 on the top list is a program from Sveriges Radio: P3 Documentary.
Advertising on the internet continues to surge, growing by an impressive 20 percent between 2014 and 2015. In 2015, the Internet’s share of the total advertising market was almost 40 percent. However, most of this money is not transferred to traditional Swedish media online, but to international media companies. A special report was conducted in 2015 about the share of advertising that specifically financed journalism. In 2015, 25 percent of the Swedish advertising sales ended up with media companies involved in journalism. That was 12 percentage points lower than in 2008. All in all, news media companies in Sweden lost 4.1 bn SEK (€0.4bn in advertising revenues during this six-year period.
There have been initiatives to develop online media with no counterpart in print or broadcasting but, so far, few have succeeded. There are some independent sites on the market, but their financial position is generally weak. One obvious reason has been the problem of attracting advertising to online media. This also means that most newspapers still haven’t been able to compensate for the decreasing print revenues with digital sales. Some local cases, nevertheless, indicate that there is a market potential for digital online news media in areas where the traditional printed press has cut down its presence.