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Competitive effects of NRK’s services in selected media markets

09.02.2022 - Culture and media

Following Medietilsynet’s evaluation of NRK’s contribution to user- and content diversity, Oslo Economics has assessed the competitive pressures that NRK impose on commercial news providers online. We have also conducted a descriptive analysis of the podcast market – especially podcasts within the news segment.

NRK is financed through public funds, and it is therefor of importance to study how the presence of NRK affect the offerings of commercial actors. Competition from NRK will force commercial actors to improve their offerings, which is good from a societal point of view. However, increased competition normally decreases profitability, which could lead to exit, and subsequently have a negative impact on the societal content diversity.

In accordance with previous analyses, we find that NRK to a lesser extent exert a competitive pressure on local- and reginal news providers, and hence could be seen as not being a close competitor. Compared to the local news providers, there is a larger geographical overlap with regional news providers and NRK’s regional pages, which could result in a relatively higher competitive pressure from NRK. However, the regional news providers have strong positions in their respective regions, and potential competition from NRK is likely to act in a disciplinary fashion.

Our analysis, also in accordance with previous studies, found that NRK exert stronger competitive pressure on commercial news providers with a national scope, compared to the news providers with a local- or regional scope. We also found that NRK have increased their strength within national news during the last couple of years, which have increased the competitive pressure from NRK on national news providers online. At the same time, the national news providers have experienced growth in both use, revenue, and profitability. This indicates that the increased competitive pressure from NRK have not resulted in any significant negative effects on the commercial news providers with a national scope.

Subscription fees have become increasingly important for commercial news providers, and long-form content such as comments, magazine articles, and consumer reviews, are important for generating and keeping paid subscribers. NRK have seemingly increased their production of such types of content, together with an increase in the coverage of breaking news. Currently, NRK’s content seem to mainly compliment the content produced by the commercial actors. Therefore, given NRK’s current content and strategy, we do not expect any negative effects on competition in the short- nor medium term.

The report is available in Norwegian here.

Asbjørn Englund
Asbjørn Englund
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