The total revenue of the media in 2021 was some 27 billion ISK. This signifies 2% increase from in previous year, when the media revenue did fall by 5% in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last year’s media revenue equals the revenue in 2015, measured in real prices. Small increase in the media revenue in 2021 is largely due to increase in advertising revenue which increased by 9% between years at same time as revenue derived from users declined by 2%.

Users provide the largest bulk of revenue of the media or 60% (16 billion ISK) compared with 40% from advertising (11 billion ISK). The share of the public broadcaster, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, of the total media revenue lowered slightly between years, or from 26% to 25%, simultaneously as its share in advertisement revenue of the media increased from 17% to 19%. The five largest media operators retain some 87% of the total media revenue.

In the wake of the economic recession following the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 there was a slight decrease in media revenue (i.e. daily- and non-dailies, other papers and magazines, radio and television and web media). The media revenue decreased 5% compared with the previous year but increased by 2% last year. Between the years 2007 and 2010 the revenue of the media declined nearly 30%, measured in fixed 2021 prices.

After some increase in the years 2015-2017 the media revenue has fallen some 12%. The decline was more serious in revenue drawn from advertisements than in users’ fees and revenue related to direct sale to customers. Revenue derived from advertisements have fallen by 28% since 2016 and by 44% since its peak in 2007, calculated in real prices. The reasons for the slump in advertising revenue is to a larger extent due to increased flow of advertising money abroad (mainly social media and search engines) and to somewhat a lesser extent advent of new media (streaming services of music and books and podcasts).

The fall in the revenue of the media is manifested differently between different kind of media. Newspapers and magazines have suffered more severe fall in revenue than other media. This can be explained by changes in media consumption. The revenue of newspapers (i.e. dailies and non-dailies) has fallen by 60% since 2005. Last year there was a slight increase in revenue of the dailies and non-dailies, or by 1%. Revenue of magazines and other periodicals increased by 12% between 2020 and 2021 and web media by 25%. At the same time, radio revenue decreased slightly while the television revenue remained unchanged.

New patterns in media consumption are partly captured in changed share of different media in the media revenue over time as shown in the table below. In 2021, 55% of total media revenue was picked up by television compared with 40% in 2000. Radio’s share changed only slightly between 2000 and 2021 or from 12% to 13%. The share of other papers and magazines declined from 9% down to 5%. The web media retained 10% market share in 2020 compared with only 1% in 2000. Newspapers have fared worst in this comparison. In 2000, newspapers retained 38% share compared with only 18% in 2021. Over the period under review, television increased its share from 40% to 55%.

Of total revenue of the media in 2021, 25% fell to the public broadcaster, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Between 2000 and 2021, the share of the public broadcaster of the total media revenue grew from 22% to 25%. At the same time the share of the public broadcaster in radio revenue has remained near unchanged (from 66% to 65%) while its share in television has fallen from 34% down to 29%.

The share of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service in the total advertising revenue increased slightly between 2020 and 2021, or from 15% to 19%. At the same time the share of the public broadcaster in radio advertising increased from 36% to 39% and television from 32% to 50%.

In 2021, five media companies and operators (including the public broadcaster) retained 87% share of the total market. The share of the largest five was 94% in subscription and user fees and 79% of the advertising revenue of the media.

Exempting the public service broadcaster, the five largest media companies retained 85% of the total revenue of the private media, 95% of revenue from subscriptions and user fees and 75% of the advertising revenue.

About the data
Information about revenue of the Icelandic media are derived from information from the media companies to the Icelandic Media Commission since 2011 (previously to Statistics Iceland) and annual accounts. In the instances when information is lacking from media operators, revenues are estimated from VAT tax reports and other available information.

Mass media are defined as daily- and non-daily newspapers, other papers and magazines, radio and television (including streaming and SVOD services) and web media. Information about revenue of other media (i.e. streaming services for music and books, cinema, podcasts, etc.) is provided in the data tables.

Media revenue is defined as revenue from users (subscription fees, single copy sales and pay-per view, broadcasting fee levied upon all eligible individuals and companies) and advertisements and sponsoring. The data does not include foreign media. Information about individual private media is not provided due to rules of confidentiality.