NRK license fee set to disappear

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Norwegians’ longtime manner of financing their state broadcaster NRK, though a license fee charged to all households with a TV, is likely to be replaced in a few years by a broader tax to support broadcast media considered to be in the public interest. Not only will proceeds from the tax be earmarked for NRK, but also for Norway’s nationwide commercial TV station, TV2.

The country’s conservative minority government coalition hasn’t yet decided exactly how the new form of financing will work, but it’s aimed at keeping both NRK and TV2 strong and able to keep developing Norwegian broadcasting in a challenging digital age.

Norwegian households currently pay NOK 2,756 (USD 320) per year to help finance NRK alone. That’s due to rise to NOK 2,835 in the state budget for 2016. The amount is billed in two installments directly to households and businesses with TVs.

Now the license fee is likely to be replaced with a more general media tax either billed to households, individuals or added to annual individual taxes based on income. It could leave NRK financed directly through the state budget, as well as generate funds for TV2, up to NOK 135 million in state support a year for the first time ever.

TV2, deemed by Culture Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland as an important alternative to NRK and a competitor “that has made NRK better,” has lately been struggling financially. Most mainstream media outlets have been hammered by declining advertising revenues and a reluctance by subscribers to pay for online news content. Helleland’s proposals should help secure the future for broadcast media in Norway, according to various researchers.

A final tax-funded support plan for both NRK and TV2 is expected by 2018.

newsinenglish.no staff