The Future of Public Service Television in Sweden : A study on challenges and opportunities for SVT Play in a shifting television landscape

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: This study investigates the changing television landscape and consumption habits and the effects on the Swedish public service television(SVT). Recent shifts have amplified the ongoing decline of linear television and were marked by increasing migration of viewers to online video consumption and global streaming services. These new competitors escalate the challenges facing national broadcasters and emphasize the role of having a strong independent public service television that can remain relevant to all its audiences. SVT has been a pioneer in shifting to online and launched its video streaming service SVT Play in 2006. But the service is unable to recuperate the viewership bleeding from SVT linear channels, and reaching younger audiences has never been more challenging. The study presents a literature review and background referring to recent general trends in the television market, to put shifts and disruptions in the Swedish market in a larger context. We also present a thorough background on the Swedish television market focusing on the position of SVT and SVT Play. We discussed dynamics and drivers of recent structural and consumption shifts through in-depth interviews with key personnel from SVT as well as with other experts from different areas within the media and telecom industry. We seek to answer what future challenges and opportunities are for SVT Play and how to deal with those challenges and opportunities. The data collected were analyzed and reported in this study. The main findings indicate a new era ahead of public service heralded by the unprecedented decline of SVT broadcast and the increased consumption divergence in 2019. The study found that SVT Play has a central future role of public service television and should be further empowered to remain agile and relevant, through diverse, differentiated, and personalized offerings, but also through constant engagement with audiences and continuous learning of what they value and demand in a constantly changing media landscape. 

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