PSM contribution to media diversity: Norwegian regulator assesses NRK positively

posted on 17 January, 2022   (public)

Risk of negative competitive effects considered to be low in the short/medium term

In a report published on 29 November 2021, the Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) concludes that the public service media provider NRK contributes positively to media diversity and to the overall offer to the public by fulfilling its public service broadcasting remit and by working with other actors in the Norwegian media market. A detailed summary of the report is now available in English.

The objective of the report, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, was to identify how NRK contributes to diversity of content and exposure, whether it fulfils its duty to cover thematic and geographic blind spots and how the competitive effects of its activities impact on the media market. on online news and current affairs.

The review is based on the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and studies from a wide range of sources including NRK, public authorities, consultants and academic researchers and takes into consideration input from the media industry.

The main conclusions of the NMA's report are as follows:

  • Positive contribution: NRK contributes positively to media plurality by fulfilling its public service mission 
  • Variety of content: NRK's content offers a great thematic and geographic breadth 
  • Complementarity rather than substitution: as one of the top three news sources for most of the Norwegian population, NRK complements rather than substitutes other sources
  • Some remaining geographic "blind spots" with poor or unsystematic journalistic coverage: NRK tends not to report on local stories unless they are of national interest.
  • Collaboration with media outlets: Local newspapers are the most frequent NRK collaborators; national and regional media outlets with a broad audience experience the greatest competition 
  • There is a positive correlation between the regular use of NRK’s online news and current affairs services and paying for access to online news (but no causal relationship) 
  • Stronger competitive pressure on commercial outlets in the online news and current affairs. However, this led to improvements in the offer to the public, and is to be considered positively
  • Low competitive pressure on local newspapers: NRK's online coverage of regional news and current affairs differs widely from that offered by local newspapers. 

As a conclusion to the research, the NMA did not find any reasons to revise the mandate of NRK, or impose any restrictions on the NRK’s digital presence. However, there is some need for adjustments notably when it comes to NRK's coverage of some blind spots at the regional level.

Source: Norwegian Media Authority - Medietilsynet

Photo ©NMA

Further background:

  • The Norwegian Media Authority (NMA - Medietilsynet) has been commissioned by the Ministry of Culture for the second time to assess how the NRK, the Norwegian PSM, contributes to media diversity and the NRK’s impact on competition in the Norwegian media market. The first review took place in 2018.
  • The review aimed at providing a factual basis for the Government’s policy guidelines for 2023–2026, in respect of budget allocations and for considering whether there is a need to change NRK’s public service broadcasting remit.