Sweden Culture

Sweden Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Sweden

According to ARISTMARKETING.COM, Sweden is a country located in Europe. In the mid-1980s, the Swedish media landscape consisted of two TV channels, four radio channels, a very dominant morning press and two nationwide evening newspapers. In less than a generation, this has fundamentally changed. The state monopoly in telephony, radio and television is gone, while new technology and new players have been challenged and in many cases broken the daily press’s business models.

New technology, which has significantly reduced the costs of production and distribution, has also meant that the boundaries between media companies are loosened. In 2014, for example, web TV is an integral part of many newspapers’ activities.

During the period, the large groups restructured their operations through mainly acquisitions, closures and cost savings. The media market in 2014 is characterized by a significantly higher ownership concentration than 30 years ago. Three families, Bonnier (Bonnier AB), Hjörne (Stampen) and Stenbeck (MTG, Metro), and a foundation-controlled limited company, Schibsted, are the dominant media owners, all except Stampen with nationwide operations in several areas.

Internet and mobile telephony

Sweden was out early with computers and internet connection in households. After the dissemination phase 1995–2005 and the broadband phase 2005–10, the Swedes are now in the mobile phase. In 2013, more than half use mobile or tablet to connect to the Internet, and the proportion is steadily increasing. The proportion of Swedish households with access to the Internet is just over 90%.

Global sites like Google, Facebook and YouTube are among the most visited. Only one media site, Aftonbladet.se, is included in ten in the top list. The list also includes Blocket, whose business concept has basically killed off the cashback text ads long been for the daily press.

There are four mobile operators with their own 3G networks: Telia, Tele2, Telenor and 3. The largest is Telia, owned by TeliaSonera AB and second largest is Tele2, owned by the Stenbeck family, which under the name Comviq started to challenge the Swedish telecommunications monopoly at the beginning of 1980s.

Daily Press

The position of the daily press has long been extremely strong, especially in the countryside, compared to other countries. High literacy, home newspapers, press support, objective reporting on news sites and the lack of commercial alternatives in radio and television have been the main reasons.

In total, about 80 paid newspapers are published, with 4–7 issues per week and just over the same number of daily newspapers, ie. published 1-3 times a week. In Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, the four groups Bonniers, Stampen, Schibsted and MTG are responsible for virtually all daily newspaper publishing. The regional press is in principle divided into six groups: Stampen, Mittmedia, Gota Media, Norrköpings Tidningar Media (NTM), the NWT Group and Herenco. In addition, there are a few family or privately owned newspapers that are not part of any group.

Bonniers held a very strong position in Stockholm until the early 1990s with the newspapers Dagens Nyheter, Dagens Industri and Expressen. The circulation stage, especially for Expressen, and Metro’s establishment have reduced the Group’s dominance. In 1994 Sydsvenskan and Kvällsposten were acquired in Malmö and in 1997 the evening newspaper GT in Gothenburg. Kvällsposten and GT are since 1998 editions of Expressen.

Norwegian Schibsted entered the Swedish market through the acquisition of Aftonbladet in 1996 and Svenska Dagbladet in 1998. In 2003, Blocket was acquired, today one of the Group’s largest cash cakes with a profit of 415 million 2012.

Stampen, whose main newspaper is Göteborgs-Posten, began a major expansion in the mid-2000s and acquired, among other things. VLT Group and Nerikes Allehanda. The stamp publishes some 20 morning newspapers today. The expansion has had a high price and the Group is struggling with difficult financial problems.

The Stenbeck family MTG established itself in the daily press market in Stockholm in 1995 with Metro, Sweden’s first free newspaper. In 1998, an edition was started in Gothenburg and since 1999 there is Metro in Malmö. The newspaper’s target group, unlike the paid morning newspapers, is primarily younger readers, but the establishment has nevertheless significantly reduced advertising revenue for the morning press, especially when it comes to housing ads.

As far back as the 1960s, most rural newspapers were foundation or party-owned, or family-owned one-time newspaper companies. After half a century of acquisitions and mergers, the ownership picture in 2013 has changed completely. The labor movement, which in the early 1980s owned some 30 newspapers, has a wholly owned newspaper, Värmlands Folkblad. The Center Party sold its local magazines in 2005.

Of the previously mentioned groups, Stampen is the largest, followed by Bonnier and the foundation-owned groups Schibsted, Mittmedia, Gota Media and NTM. The two smallest groups, NWT and Herenco, are family owned.

The Group’s strategies have been broadly similar – to achieve monopoly in each distribution area and to coordinate text production, editing, printing, distribution, advertising sales and key functions such as IT and human resources departments. On the other hand, the groups have differed when it comes to investing in the Internet. NTM has, for example, has always been at the forefront while NWT and Herenco have been more cautious. Herenco’s five newspapers in Småland were not published on the Internet until 2013.

The system of state press subsidy means that it has been a good deal to take over the second newspaper in each place, which has left many center-partist and social-democratic newspapers alive. Often, however, only the leader page and the name of the second newspaper differ from the first newspaper.

The world’s longest published daily newspaper was Swedish, namely Post- och Inrikes Tidningar, which with short interruptions, under various titles, was published as a paper newspaper in 1645–2006. Since 2007, Post- och Inrikes Tidningar has been published in electronic form on the Swedish Companies Agency’s website. Three years after the 1766 printing freedom regulation came the first daily newspaper, Daglig Allehanda.

The first modern newspapers were Aftonbladet (founded in 1830) and the Gothenburg Trade and Shipping Magazine (1832–1973), both bodies of the liberal opposition to Karl XIV Johan. Newspapers with low prices and easily accessible content intended for a general public began to be published during the latter part of the 19th century: Gothenburg Post (founded 1859), Dagens Nyheter (1864), Skånska Dagbladet in Malmö (1888) and Stockholm-Tidningen (1889) –1966, 1981–84).

The daily newspaper reading was further spread through the political parties ‘and popular movements’ newspaper starts: The Social Democrat in Stockholm (1885–1958), Work in Malmö (1887–2000), Svenska Morgonbladet in Stockholm (1890–1958) and New Era in Gothenburg (1892–1966)). At the same time, the first trade union newspapers were started (see trade union press).

Faster production methods, improved distribution and increased interest in news led to an increasing number of daily newspapers around the turn of the last century. The model became from Dagens Nyheter from the 1910s. During the latter part of the 1920s a new type of newspaper was launched, the richly illustrated newspaper in a small format: Stockholm Dagblad (from 1926 to 1931), later Aftonbladet (from 1931) and Expressen (founded in 1944). Since then, very few newspapers have been started; the most notable are the business newspaper Dagens Industri, 1983 and Metro, 1995. A further change in the Swedish daily press took place in the early 2000s when almost all full-size newspapers went into tabloid format.

Magazines and magazines

The Swedish magazine market can be roughly divided into popular press and trade press. The popular press includes family magazines, specialty magazines, fashion magazines and some weekly magazines. The trade press includes organizational press, trade union press, industry magazines and member magazines. There are no complete statistics on the number of journals, but in 2013 the Royal Library has more than 7,000 titles registered. Of these, about 400 are available for purchase in the trade, while the remainder is predominantly trade press, distributed by mail.

Three groups are leading in the magazine market in 2014: Bonnier AB, Danish-owned Aller Media and Danish-owned Egmont. The three are also owners of the distributor Tidsam, which has about 90% of the market with its approximately 8,000 retailers. Tidsam has been criticized by several smaller magazine publishers for favoring their owners and not submitting new titles.

New production technology has reduced both the cost and the time to establish new magazines, which has made it easier for smaller publishers to launch new titles. A trend in recent years is that more and more niche journals are being launched. In 2013, 102 new journals were started and 135 closed, a sign that the market is starting to become saturated. There were over 900 registered magazine publishers, of which just over half were sole proprietors.


Since the beginning of the 2010s, the boundaries between TV viewing in computer, tablet, mobile or TV set have increasingly blurred. One sign is that Radio Service 2013 began to collect a TV fee from the person who has a computer or tablet with the motivation that TV broadcasts are available on the internet, a decision that was torn down by the Supreme Administrative Court in 2014.

Another trend is that tabloid TV viewing is dying out, except for live broadcasts of sporting events and the like. Consumers want to be able to look at what they want, whenever they want, anywhere. Virtually all channels also offer video-on-demand or so-called play services. The most common form of TV reception is via cable, followed by digital terrestrial network and satellite, but all three forms decrease, as more and more people switch to IPTV, broadband reception.

The digitization, which began in 1999, has meant that new players have established themselves and that a large number of new channels have been started. In 2013, however, three major broadcasters dominate: Bonniers, Sweden’s Television and Stenbeck-owned MTG. Together, their channels in 2012 occupied approximately 80% of the audience’s viewing time.

Bonniers has the largest range on the market. The group includes the TV4 group with four channels, Sjuan and C More (formerly Canal Plus) with 27 channels. TV4 also has 25 local channels that broadcast news.

License-financed Sweden Television has the main channels SVT1 and SVT2 as well as the Children’s Channel, the Knowledge Channel, SVT 24 and SVT World. In addition, 27 local news channels are included. In 2013, SVT launched the open archive service, the goal of which is to make a large part of the company’s own produced programs available before 2005.

MTG has the advertising-funded channels TV3, TV6, TV8 and TV10. In addition, the Group owns Viasat with eight pay channels.

Regular, license-funded TV broadcasts started in 1956 as a monopoly with a channel under the auspices of Swedish Radio. In 1969, TV2 started within the same company, with the task of competing with TV1. The following year, the channels began to broadcast in color and the first regional news program, Sydnytt i Skåne, was launched, soon followed by Nordnytt, Västnytt and Mittnytt. Only in the late 1980s was the whole country covered by regional news channels.

Already in 1986, the TV monopoly began to be broken when cable TV was introduced, but it was only in 1987, when Jan Stenbeck launched TV3, that advertising TV seriously entered the Swedish living rooms. By broadcasting via satellite from London, TV3 was able to circumvent Swedish legislation. In order to stop TV3 and other commercial actors, a ban on satellite dishes was discussed. social democratic women’s association.

In 1991, the Riksdag decided that a third, terrestrial advertising-financed channel should be started. The concession went to TV4, which began broadcasting in 1992. Since then, a large number of advertising channels have been started. In 1999, terrestrial digital TV began to be broadcast and in 2005 the first broadcasts in HDTV began.


By far the largest in the Swedish market is license-funded Sweden’s Radio, which with its four main channels has a daily reach of 58% of the population (2014). The company has made great efforts to adapt to the demands of consumers that all programs should be available around the clock and has developed the web service Sweden’s Radio Play, adapted for computers and various mobile platforms.

The analogue commercial radio is completely dominated by two companies, Stenbeck’s MTG Radio and Bauer Media Group Sweden, formerly SBS Radio. MTG has 47 stations where the Rix FM network is the largest. Bauer Media Group has 54 stations with the networks Mix Megapol and Rock Classics.

The first radio broadcasts were made by private radio clubs in the early 1920s. In 1925, the radio became state-regulated and licensed. In 1955 a second radio channel started and in 1959 regional broadcasts began. When pirate radio broadcasts began by Radio Syd and Radio Nord, melody radio was started in P2 in 1961 and in 1962 P3 started.

In the mid-1970s, local radio was launched. Trial broadcasts with local radio began in 1979, still with advertising bans. Advertising-financed radio was allowed in 1994, even in local radio.

See also press freedom, daily newspaper, SR International, immigrant magazine, cable TV, media consumption and news programs.

Book and publishing system

The Swedish book market is not a homogeneous market but consists of a number of segments with subgroups. The largest is the general literature segment, which includes fiction, non-fiction for private individuals and children’s and youth books. In addition, teaching materials for the school, course literature for the university and professional literature. The printed book is about to become one of several platforms, and in the case of some professional literature, eg. team texts, the digital publishing plays a bigger role than the printed.

Book industry today

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the industry has undergone a development with increased sales, which culminated in 2007, increased the number of titles published and a shift in sales to the online bookstore, which in 2013 had the same sales as the traditional bookstore. During the period, the previously important book clubs have also lost significance. Sales of e-books have so far been marginal but are constantly increasing. In 2002, the VAT on books and magazines was reduced from 25% to 6%, which resulted in increased book sales, especially of fiction.

During the period, a small group of large publishing groups has grown larger, while more and more smaller publishing companies have established themselves. The Swedish Publishers Association has 63 members (2013), which accounts for about 70% of the industry’s turnover.

In 2013, there were about 300 book publishers with regular publishing. The majority of them are small and many are run almost on a nonprofit basis. In 2012, 10,733 new works and editions were published according to the Royal Library’s statistics. It also includes doctoral dissertations and writings published by scientific societies and the like. The number of newly written Swedish fiction works was 1,225.

Two groups, Bonnier AB and KF Media, dominate the Swedish market. Both have publishers founded in the early 19th century.

The biggest without comparison is Bonniers with around 15 publishers, among them Albert Bonniers Förlag, Wahlström & Widstrand, Forum, Bonnier Carlsen and Semic. During the 2000s, Bonniers made a number of acquisitions and significantly strengthened its position at the wholesale and retail level through so-called vertical integration. In 2004, the leading online bookstore Adlibris was acquired, in 2010 the distributor Pocketgrossisten was purchased and in 2012 the bookstore chain Pocket Shop with 15 stores. The acquisitions and the Group’s actions have been criticized by several publishers, who believe that Bonniers utilizes its dominant position to close out competing publishers.

The second largest is Norstedts Förlagshus with, among other things, Sweden’s leading children’s book publisher, Rabén & Sjögren. Norstedts has an extensive publishing of fiction and non-fiction literature and is Sweden’s leading publisher when it comes to dictionaries. The publisher is owned by KF Media, a subsidiary of the Co-operative Union. KF Media, which was for sale in 2013, also includes the bookstore chain Akademibokhandel and the online bookstore Bokus.

In recent years, the ICA Group has expanded in the book market. through the acquisition of Damm Förlag 2006 and B. Wahlström Book publishing 2007. The business is run in the subsidiary Forma Books, which includes the main publisher Ica book publishing, focused on professional books.

Within educational materials and course literature, foundation-owned Natur & Kultur is one of the largest publishers of textbooks from preschool to college. The publisher also publishes fiction as well as professional and children’s books.

Liber, owned by the British venture capital company Bridgepoint Capital, is the largest competitor to Nature & Culture and is focused on the entire education market. Liber is part of Bridgepoint’s publishing group Infinitas Learning, which has operations in seven European countries.


The printing business in the late 1400s and early 1500s formed the basis for the first publishers, Johannes Smedh and Johann Snell. Later in the 16th century they were supplemented by bookbinders, among others. Hermann Such. The major publishers as far back as the 18th century were the chapters and the state (the Royal Printers in Stockholm). During the 1600s, printing works were established in several locations in the country.

Individuals could obtain the privileges of engaging in publishing. The largest private publishing movement of the 17th century was conducted by Henrik Keyser, who published a number of popular religious works. Ignatius Meurer also published religious writings as well as significant volumes of casual literature.

Since the printers, through a regulation from 1752, were given the right to sell their own articles and with the more liberal climate during the period of freedom, culminating in the 1766 printing freedom regulation, a number of book printers appeared as publishers in a more modern sense. The leading name was Lars Salvius.

The 1810 freedom of print regulation meant that the censorship was abolished and that publishing activities could be based on the principle of copyright. Literature was in demand by a wider bourgeois audience, and the market expanded greatly, including. through an extensive publication of entertaining literature such as robber novels and historical novels. Around 1830, assortment booksellers appeared as publishers, e.g. Gleerup in Lund and the brothers Adolf and Albert Bonnier in Stockholm.

To remedy the defective book distribution, the printer and publisher Zacharias Hæggström in 1843 took the initiative to form the Swedish Publishers Association (since 1996 the Swedish Publishers Association). Through the commission system, the association strived to establish effective links between publishers and bookstores. The addition of the distribution company JU Burström’s forwarding office (1848), later renamed Seelig & Co., improved the spread of literature. With the introduction of primary school (1842), demand for textbooks increased.

During the 1900s, the market grew through cheap book editions and a launch of, among other things. encyclopedias and popular science works. Within the serious fiction, Albert Bonnier’s Publishers came to dominate from the 1890s onwards. In areas such as school books and non-fiction, PA Norstedt & Söner (1823) was a leader. The pocketbooks, which broke through in the 1950s, were another attempt to broaden the market.

In 1970, the Swedish book market was liberalized. Thus, free pricing and free right of establishment for bookstore were introduced. Books began to be marketed at many different outlets, including. in department stores, kiosks and grocery stores. In the following decades, book clubs became an important sales channel. The smaller publishers expanded during the 1970s and 1980s, among other things. since a state literature grant has made it easier to publish quality literature in small editions.

See also reading tablet and letterpress art (History of book printing in Sweden).


According to APARENTINGBLOG, among Swedish culture that has given echoes in the world are among others the film director Ingmar Bergman, the pop group Abba and actors such as Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. Children’s book author Astrid Lindgren has become world famous through translations into some 90 languages. In the 2000s, Swedish decks have had a major international impact, not least through Stieg Larsson with the Millennium Trilogy.

Sweden’s oldest preserved writings are carved on Rökstenen in Östergötland and other rune stones. The Revelations of the Holy Birgitta of the 1300s belong to the oldest religious literature, a genre that was common in the Middle Ages.

During the 18th century the influence of religion diminished and cultural life flourished according to the French model. During this century, King Gustav III founded the Swedish Academy (which awards the Nobel Prize in literature) as well as the Royal Theater (The Opera) and the Royal Dramatic Theater. In the 18th century also lived the internationally renowned theologian and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, the sculptor Tobias Sergel, the poet Carl Michael Bellman and the scientist Carl von Linné.

By the 19th century, romance came to Sweden with practitioners such as Esaias Tegnér and E J Stagnelius. The 1890s brought forth several successful writers. Among them were Selma Lagerlöf, who received the Nobel Prize in 1909. Historically the most influential Swedish author, August Strindberg (1849-1912), got his breakthrough with the novel Red Room 1879. Internationally, he is best known for his drama, with works such as Miss Julie.

The Nobel Prize was founded around the turn of the century by the inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel and is today the world’s most prestigious literature prize. In addition to Lagerlöf, it has also gone to Verner von Heidenstam (1916), Erik Axel Karlfeldt (posthumously, 1931), Pär Lagerkvist (1951), Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson (shared prize 1974), and Tomas Tranströmer (2011).

Recently, many established writers and poets include Tranströmer, among others Per Olov Enquist, Sven Delblanc, PC Jersild, Lars Gustafsson, Katarina Frostensson, Göran Tunström, Sara Lidman, Torgny Lindgren and Kerstin Ekman.

For the visual arts, the 1870s meant a renewal. Well-known artists are Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors and Anders Zorn. Modernism is associated with Isaac Grünewald, Sigrid Hjertén and Nils Dardel. Of sculptors, Carl Milles and Axel Pettersson are distinguished.

Among the artists who made their mark after the Second World War were Öyvind Fahlström, Per Olov Ultvedt and Barbro Östlihn, and during the last decades Cecilia Edefalk, Jockum Nordström and Ann-Sofi Sidén. Photographers such as Christer Strömholm, Lars Tunbjörk and Anders Petersen have also been important during the latter part of the 20th century and until today.

Swedish glass art became world famous in the early 1900s, when designers Simon Gate and Edvard Hald worked at Orrefors mill. The tradition has been continued with the names of Ulrica Hydman-Vallien and Bertil Vallien.

Among famous Swedish musicians and composers are Franz Berwald, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger and Hugo Alfvén. Swedish choirs and opera singers have attracted considerable international attention over the years. Jussi Björling and Birgit Nilsson are among the classics of opera art. Evert Taube, Olle Adolphson and Cornelis Vreeswijk have written and performed some of the most popular Swedish songs.

Swedish pop music achieved an international breakthrough with the Abba group during the 1970s. In the 1990s, Roxette, Ace of Base and later, among others, Cardigans and The Hives ranked high on several foreign leaderboards.

The world has been made aware of Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman. The seventh seal belongs to his first films, Fanny and Alexander, among the latest and most internationally awarded. Roy Andersson, as the first Swedish to date, was awarded the Gold Lion at the Venice Film Festival 2014 for A pigeon sat on a branch and pondered on existence. The film is the third in a trilogy (the first two films are also award-winning). Ruben Östlund won the Gold Palm at the Cannes Film Festival 2017, for his film The Square. Two other famous directors are Bo Widerberg and Lasse Hallström. Among Swedish film actors Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo are in a class of their own.

Among today’s playwright, Lars Norén is a foreground figure.



Nazis attack anti-racist demonstration

A demonstration against racism in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp is being attacked by a group of supporters of the Nazi organization Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR), armed with slingshots, knuckles and burning objects. The reactions are getting strong with protest actions against racism in several parts of the country.

Battle for stopped tax cuts

The opposition’s attempt to tear up a decision on a higher breaking point for state income tax leads to a dispute over the parliamentary agenda, which is regarded as an intermediary between the constitution and ordinary law. The Government considers that, according to the Riksdag, it is not possible to break out and change part of the budget decision that was made in October. The President therefore stops voting on the proposal. But the opposition is then pushing for the Constitutional Committee (KU) to take a position on the issue. KU sends the question back to Parliament, where the red-green parties together with the Swedish Democrats vote down the government’s tax cut.

Red green wire

Just over nine months before the parliamentary elections, the three red-green parties are clearly leading the Alliance in an opinion poll by Statistics Sweden. Together, they have the support of 49.8 percent of voters, against 39.7 percent of the four government parties. The Swedish Democrats are the third largest party with 9.3 percent, according to the survey.

Impaired school results

The annual Pisa study on school pupils’ results is a bleak reading for Sweden. It turns out that Swedish 15-year-olds’ knowledge of mathematics, reading comprehension and science has fallen sharply in a few years, and more so than in all other OECD countries.


Female Archbishop

Germany-born Antje Jackelén, bishop of Lund’s diocese, wins the archbishop’s election by a clear margin, and the Swedish Church thus gets its first female archbishop. Jackelén has been mentioned before for questioning the virgin birth and saying that she believes in the theory of evolution. She succeeds Anders Wejryd in June 2014.


Obama on State Visit

US President Barachk Obama visits Sweden and discusses, among other things, free trade and climate issues with Prime Minister Reinfeldt.

Permanent residence permit for Syrians

The Migration Board decides that all Syrians who come to Sweden will be allowed to stay indefinitely. Up to 8,000 Syrians in the country with temporary residence permits now have them changed to permanent status. The background is the severe conflict in Syria.


HD decisions favor tax savers

The Supreme Court ruled that a person who was forced to pay a tax surcharge cannot also be sentenced to prison, since both EU law and the European Convention prohibit double punishment – being sentenced twice for the same crime. HD decides that the ban on double punishment should apply retroactively from February 2009, when the European Court of Justice established a new practice. Hundreds of people convicted of tax offenses can now claim a raise and claim damages from the state. Even before HD’s decision, a number of imprisoned tax smiths have been released prematurely since it was clear what the outcome would be.


Rwandans convicted of genocide

A 54-year-old man from Rwanda is sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and serious international law violation against Tutsis in his home country. This is the first time anyone has been convicted of genocide in Sweden.


Youth ravages in Husby

The unrest erupts in the Stockholm suburb and spreads to a number of other suburbs as well as to other cities. The Swedish Democrats claim that the suburban riots are a result of overly generous immigration, but the party goes back in public opinion and gets 6.6 percent in Sifo’s voter barometer.

Sweden Culture

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