Radio in Sweden suffering from podcast competition


The good news for commercial radio broadcasters in Sweden: Revenues in October were up 7.5%, according to The Local, a Swedish English-language news service. The bad news: The rest of the media industry was up 26%. Increasing use of podcasts on smartphones was partially blamed for the lackluster performance.

Believe it or not, there was also a positive side to radio’s lackluster performance. That was the fact that it surfed the economic downturn more successfully than other media categories, meaning it did not have as much ground to recover, or as easy comparables to match up with.

But Hakan Gustafsson, CEO of Carat Scandinavia, which monitors statistics for the country’s Media Bureau, said, “At the same time, we clearly see that commercial radio is starting to lose listeners to the internet [through services] such as Spotify. This applies both to the proportion of listeners and share of advertising money.”

Cinema and television enjoyed wild swings into the black, with Cinema rising by a factor of 35% and television by a factor of 44%.

RBR-TVBR observation: We don’t believe that internet radio is yet having this kind of measureable effect on radio revenues here, but this may well be a peek into radio’s future.

If the use of mobile devices to get entertainment and informational audio is coming one way or the other, having a smartphone FM chip is very important. Beyond that, smart radio stations will start learning to provide the kind of on-demand content phone users are looking for.