Norwegian newspapers are losing readers at a more alarming rate, as the media crisis finally seems to be reaching Norway with full force. Several large papers have announced another round of cutbacks that may force some layoffs.
Norwegians have traditionally been known for reading several different newspapers a day, which is what has kept the media market buoyant long after the axe fell on papers in other countries. Cutbacks began several years ago, though, with newspaper Aftenposten offering severance packages to workers as far back as 2008. Last week Aftenposten announced its third round of such cutbacks, with severance packages that aren’t expected to be as generous.
Newspaper Dagbladet also needs to cut staff, and if not enough staffers leave voluntarily, layoffs loom. They loom also at newpapers in the Amedia group, owned by trade union confederation LO, Telenor and the Fritt Ord foundation.
The reasons for the cutbacks are the same as before: Loss of advertising revenues and a loss of readers to the Internet, where readers are reluctant to pay for content that newspapers had been offering for free. “This is the storm that we’re been predicting would hit for decades,” Aril Hansen of Amedia paper Drammens Tidende. “We just didn’t know the date.”