Overall Radio Listening Has Declined in Norway

FM shutdowns triggered listener losses but media said this was expected, probably temporary
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OSLO ��Back in January, the national network FMs started shutting down in Norway. After more than half of a year, what is happening with listenership there?� As one might expect, different media outlets are putting their own spin on the results.

The radio industry was prepared for the switchover to create a temporary decrease in total radio listening throughout 2017, as the population needs time to convert to digital, according to radio.no. The total number of listeners declined 2.7% during the first half of 2017, as compared to the similar period in 2016. More than 65% of Norwegians listened to radio daily in the first half of 2017, 68.8% in the first half of 2016. Listening hours remains stable with 125 minutes both years.

�The figures are actually slightly better than expected. We�ve been expecting to lose listeners temporarily, but expect to return to 2016 levels next year,� says Ole J�rgen Torvmark, CEO of Digitalradio Norway Torvmark, quoted in the same article.

Radiottny.no paints somewhat of a bleak picture for radio in Norway. In week 25 of 2015 had Radio Norway had a daily audience of 16.2%; during week 25 of 2017 it was surveyed at 8.5%, meaning that roughly half the listeners have been lost. Radio listening overall also had its very worst week this year in week 25, with a total result of 62.1%; in 2015 was radio listening at 69.8%, and in 2016 it was at 67.0%. �This represents a fall in radio listening at over 10% during the last two years,� according to the same article.

With local FM radio staying on the air in most of the country, it�s also fair to ask how those stations are coping.� According to part two of the Norwegian Media Authority's report on the economy of the country�s media companies, local radio total advertising revenue declined by 14.6% in 2016 � even before the national FM shutdowns started.

�The report shows that local radio in Norway has much to struggle with, and faces difficult choices in the transition to the national broadcasters' transition to DAB,� says Tor Erik Engebretsen, director of grants, finance and market the Media Authority, as quoted in this article from nrk.no. �The future is relatively uncertain for local radio, because many are in a dilemma about what to do.�

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