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A captive audience W

Ok, Sweden may not be the happiest country in the world – that’s next-door neighbour, Denmark – but at number fi ve, it has many reasons to be cheerful. Low unemployment, a low birth rate and high life expectancy – not to mention Abba and IKEA – all combine to make Sweden a pretty nice place to live and read magazines. Kerstin Neld, CEO of Sveriges Tidskrifter (the Swedish Magazine Publishers Association) reports.

ith a landmass of 450,000 km2

(fourth largest in Europe) and just 9.5 million people, Sweden has the luxury of

space in a fast-populating world. More than 50 per cent of its land is forest, and there are 100,000 lakes and 24,000 islands. It also has a highly developed welfare system and very good literacy rates. And if you don’t like confrontation, the

Kingdom of Sweden has remained neutral in conflicts since 1814. This is despite having its own branch of the Vikings and being a former military power – it colonised parts of Eastern Europe in the 17th Century. Abba – just one of many successful

Swedish groups – may have made its name by singing about Waterloo and how The Winner Takes All, but Swedes are, on the whole, cultured, calm people. And they like to read – on paper and on the screen.

The market Sweden continues to see a robust demand for printed magazines, with no dramatic drops in circulation. But whatever fall-off there has been in print has been more than compensated for by the growth in digital content. This applies to the advertising market too (see box). The country has long been a subscription dominated market, and that trend has become more apparent during the last few years. However, in common with other mature western markets, the smartphone is increasingly becoming the hub of media usage, especially for young consumers. Also on a par with trends elsewhere, publishers have developed new business models to counter reduced revenues, with events, eshops, and brand extensions becoming more prevelant.

Readership trends An encouraging trend for the magazine industry is longer reading times. Magazine readers are managing to squeeze in a few more minutes a day, with the average time increasing from 40 minutes to 42 minutes since 2006, according to TNS Sifo.

At a glance  Population: 9.5 million  GDP per capita: US$55,039

 Language: Swedish (and minority languages)  Capital: Stockholm

 Government: Constitutional Monarchy, parliamentary democracy

 Currency: Krona (keeps currency, despite being in the European Union)

 Religion: 82 per cent Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden

Advertising During the last few years the advertising market has decreased, due to sharper competition from new players, and new media habits. But the short-term future has some good news. During 2015, the total market adspend is set to increase by 1.9 per cent compared to 2014, and is forecast to reach nearly 32.5bn SEK.

The Swedish Magazine Publishers Association represents 380 Swedish magazines


Print ad revenues 2013: –14.5 per cent since 2012 (86 per cent of ad revenues)

Digital ad revenues 2013: +14 per cent

Print copy sales to households 2014: –11 per cent since 2011

Digital copy sales to households 2014: +36 per cent since 2011

Circulation 2013: –1.9 per cent since 2012

Magazine launches 2013: +11 per cent since 2012

Magazine closures 2012: fi ve per cent

IKEA Family Living: average circulation of 646,000

Local flavours While the likes of Bonnier, Egmont, Talentum and Aller all cater for the domestic and international markets, Swedish magazines are by far the most popular. The country also has a wide portfolio of B2B, association and customer magazines, including IKEA Family Live, with a circulation of 646,000. Of course, Sweden also enjoys strong global brands, and established titles such as Elle and Elle Decoration remain popular.

Future prospects Senior citizens are still very attached to their ‘magazine moment’, and some sectors are still growing, such as various food sectors and the ‘long read’.

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The amount of people reading magazines is another encouraging trend. Magazine usage per day remains stable at 33 per cent of people aged 9-79 years old. Again reflecting global trends, however, and triggered by the explosion of digital content, younger people are reading less, although this is balanced by the increased magazine usage among older people. Generally, more people are using social media than printed morning papers. Digital magazine usage has increased, but

from a very low level. So far, the tablet has failed to gain traction, with no big successes yet. But more than a quarter of all Swedes do have access to a tablet and web traffic from mobile devices is increasing sharply.

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