• Sweden's news in English

iPad owners to pay Swedish TV licence fee

22 Jan 2013, 12:11

Published: 22 Jan 2013 12:11 GMT+01:00

On Tuesday, SVT CEO Eva Hamilton used an opinion article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper to announce the state broadcaster would soon offer its entire broadcast line-up free of charge online.

While the change will allow viewers to browse through SVT's entire repertoire on tablet computers as well as smartphones, it also means that people who exclusively consume programmes and news via the internet will be covered by Sweden's TV licence fee.

SEE ALSO: Stockholm iPad 'magic' a surprise YouTube hit

Currently, anyone with a television receiver is required by law to pay the 2,076 kronor ($320) annual fee, which is collected and enforced by Radiotjänst, a division of Swedish public service broadcasting.

A representative from the agency confirmed with technology magazine Computer Sweden that SVT's move would mean the agency would start collecting the fee from people who didn't own a television, but did own a computer or tablet device.

SVT's Hamilton, however, downplayed the impact of SVT's move on fee collection policies.

"There has been a law in place since 2006 that states that a person who can access an entire TV channel on any device is required to pay the fee," Hamilton said.

"When (private broadcaster) TV4 put all their channels on the web last autumn that law came into effect."

Radiotjänst collects some 7 billion kronor per annum which is used to part-finance Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio and Utbildningsradio (UR).

The TV licence system does not take into account when, if or how viewers use any of the channels or services which are funded by it.

Despite the move, the actual effect of the new licencing system will be negligible, as nine out of ten Swedish households already pay the fee. An estimated 97 percent of Swedes watch television.

On its website, Radiotjänsten includes most types of technology that can receive content, although it does not mention mobile phones with an internet connection.

While iPads will be covered by the new fee, smartphones will likely be exempt.

"The spectrum of mobile phones is so broad and we don't see their primary use as being watching a single TV channel," Radiotjänsten spokesman Johan Gernandt told Computer Sweden.

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new app for Apple's iPad

Story continues below…

Given the technological developments, Hamilton suggested that the state broadcaster merge with the educational channel Utbildningsradion (UR).

"With the technical demands we are facing on publishing on new platforms, it isn't feasible to invest in developments in two separate organisations with such similar production," she wrote.

Pooling resources, she argued, could also mean investment was diverted into higher quality programming.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

13:28 January 22, 2013 by DAVID T
Cheap at half the price
14:00 January 22, 2013 by Rishonim
Giving the poor quality of their programming, they should instead be offering incentives for people to watch their garbage. My advise to people planning to buy a TV from anyone of those electronics joints to pay cash and not provide your name or address to the clerk. It is common practice for retailers to divulge the name of every customer that purchased a tv to Radiotjänsten.
14:56 January 22, 2013 by just a question
Well, they show Game of Thrones, sometimes interesting documentaries. The rest is crap. By the way, what is the salary of people working in the public TV?
14:56 January 22, 2013 by rfmann
Great business model --- identify a technology most people have in their home, claim that they use it to "enjoy" your content, then collect fees from them. If a new technology appears that might take over from the previous one, just repeat the process.

It's amazing that this stuff is legal.
15:04 January 22, 2013 by john201004
Why don't simply ask every household to pay the TV fees instead???????
15:53 January 22, 2013 by ragdoll
I haven't paid this thing in the 7 years I've been here. What can they do?
16:27 January 22, 2013 by Snood
@ ragdoll: They could ask you really nicely? and if you don't pay, they could ask again a bit more sternly?
17:17 January 22, 2013 by just a question
if you don't pay they will come and visit you. Well, at least they ask. In most of the countries they just take the money.
17:35 January 22, 2013 by Mb 65
Never watch any of these Not even the weather forecast because that's always wrong. Just buy your ipad abroad.
17:44 January 22, 2013 by otwa
what the hell is that? TVs earns billions, why do they charge money for watching crappy TV programs and shows 15 min advertisement each 15 min with a louder volume. If TVs are not profitable in Sweden then they should sale it to foreign owners. In foreign countries, TV owners are hell rich, they even buy football clubs for fun.
18:16 January 22, 2013 by muscle
so right now and soon to be, computers laptop cellphones... meaning organizations will require to pay it as well, as they have internet connections and they have computers. amazing
18:49 January 22, 2013 by Reason and Realism
@ #2 Rishonim states

'It is common practice for retailers to divulge the name of every customer that purchased a tv to Radiotjänsten'

Can someone who works in an TV+audio shop or Radiotjänsten confirm if this is a rumour, or the truth?
19:01 January 22, 2013 by cogito
They'd have to pay me to watch Swedish state TV. It's too awful.

#3 asked how much SVTs employees make? Some, the management, quite a lot. They also have highly paid outside consultants. Then there's the vast bureaucracy they seen to need to produce a few amateurish programs.
21:42 January 22, 2013 by BackpackerKev
Is this fee for any items that could possibly used to see the godaweful shiet streaming, and does this still apply to those that have or do purchased various swedish tv shows thru itunes where many people have already given the companies their money within the purchase?

Sound like a big bag of shiet if your asked to pay twice to view the same item.
23:00 January 22, 2013 by G Kin
OMG. My rents was raised for the third time since October 2012 because of " Framtid brodband"! Called the housing company and was told the internet connection is counted as standard charge just like the washing room!

Now TV tax even for Ipads, computers etc. This added to the already sky high taxes...
00:28 January 23, 2013 by Eric1
Greed. There is no greed like government greed.
08:28 January 23, 2013 by becksoz1
How can you control this? Is it for direct 3G access or via your home wifi service, and no doubt those who do not already pay a licence will find a way around it.

That said, as I pay the licence I do expect to be able to watch Swedish television when I travel outside Sweden, but always it is then blocked as 'not available in your region'.

You have to not just charge the fee, but also provide the service!!
08:31 January 23, 2013 by reader
So will they also charge a "just in case you watch Swedish TV" tax to visiting people from abroad? They could add it to hotel bills, or even add it to the road tax system as recently started in Gothenburg... as If we don't pay enough tax already here in Sweden... I can guarantee the East African refugees will have it paid for them....
09:30 January 23, 2013 by ragdoll
Thanks for the advice. So they can do nothing if I don't pay. I guess I'm not paying. Some guy showed up to the house last year and I threw a fit and haven't heard since.

What a racket. Some wise politician should run on doing away with this. There are dozens of channels that seem to do fine via advertising because their programming gets viewers. Then there are these channels who are trying to force people to pay money whether or not they watch their programming. I don't see a lot of people on IPads watching these channels on the train. Its just a sneaky ploy to manipulate a rule and get money they have done nothing to earn. There should be a line of people outisde Ms. Hamilton's office raising hell.
10:05 January 23, 2013 by Keith #5083
I don't want tv. I don't have tv. I haven't had tv for 25 years. I live out in the forest amngst the hills and manage to get an average ca. 1MB download speed, which is pretty restricting for YouTube. Tv would be almost impossible, though I admit I have never tried.

There is an easy way for justice to be served in this matter: logging on for a Swedish TV channel via internet/tablet pc should require a password that, for example, could be the licence number or a code issued by radiotjänst.
10:21 January 23, 2013 by geoff44
I don't have tv. I haven't had tv for 25 years and I haven't missed it!. I don't want tv. Furthermore,I live out in the forest amongst the hills, if I can average a 1MB download speed then I am doing well (regularly tested with Speedtest). I can stream YouTube uninterrupted between 2.00 am and 5.00 am. I guess the net gets busy at other times. Now I am expected to pay for a service I don't want and will probably not be able to stream satisfactorily. Why can't we have a simple system for logging on to watch Swedish tv on a pc/tablet? You know, like using your license number or a number issued by radiotjänst when you buy your license. Not foolproof I know, but apparently neither is the present system.
10:33 January 23, 2013 by cogito
ComHem, the cable company for most of Stockholm (there is no choice), turns you over to the authorities. A few days after buying a digital box from them, I got a call from Radiotjänst asking about the digital box...

@ragdoll (#19). I'd vote for the politician/party that promises to close Sveriges Television/ Sveriges Radio. The money they waste could be put to use to improve health care.
14:41 January 23, 2013 by markusd
An honest business would try to provide products that people are free to purchase based on their merits. Having the government force people to pay for a product they don't want or need so you can line your pockets or so you can get a discount on your entertainment sounds like greed to me. And it's a pretty pathetic business model.
01:00 January 24, 2013 by oddsock
The head of SVT earns over 2 million SEK a year. Somebody has to pay for it! (Not me)
19:10 January 25, 2013 by tadchem
The government needs to wake up and smell the Reality flowers. Technology and culture are changing far faster than hidebound lawmakers can keep up. Here in the US government-sponsored TV is dying out. Fewer than 10% of Americans watch TV news any more - most learn of news from the Internet, from Tweets, from Facebook, and so on.
Today's headlines
COP21 Paris
Sweden pledges more to fight climate change
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (right) and France's President Francois Hollande at the summit. Photo: Christophe Ena/TT/AP

Sweden pledges more to fight climate change

4 hours ago

UPDATED: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised a further 250 million kronor ($28.5m) to fight global warming at the COP21 climate summit in Paris, a gathering seen by many as the last chance to reach a deal aimed at limiting global warming.

Swedish prosecutor: 'Movies show men killing'
A pixellated screen grab from the film shown in court. Image: Säpo /TT

Swedish prosecutor: 'Movies show men killing'

5 hours ago

The prosecutor in the trial of two Gothenburg men who have been charged with terrorist offences in Syria has asked for life imprisonment for the duo after reviewing video evidence.

Storm Gorm
Huge clear up after Storm Gorm hits Sweden
A house destroyed by the storm in Helsingborg, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Huge clear up after Storm Gorm hits Sweden

5 hours ago

UPDATED: Some schools remain closed and tens of thousands of people are still without electricity after a storm ripped through southern and western Sweden on Sunday night.

'Show of strength' from Swedish economy
Increased house-building activity has been a key growth factor. Photo: Lars Pehrson: SvD/TT

'Show of strength' from Swedish economy

6 hours ago

Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected and is now at an historically high level, according to figures from national number crunching body Statistics Sweden.

Eurovision 2016
Nordic Noir star pens Eurovision hope
Camilla Läckberg has finally succeeded in her aim to have a song in Melodifestivalen. Photo" Henrik Montgomery / TT

Nordic Noir star pens Eurovision hope

6 hours ago

Best-selling Swedish author Camilla Läckberg has co-written one of the of the 28 entries for Melodifestivalen 2016, the competition designed to choose Sweden’s entry for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Storm Gorm's trail of destruction in Sweden
The Öresund bridge, which links southern Sweden to Denmark, was closed last night because of high winds. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Storm Gorm's trail of destruction in Sweden

9 hours ago

Storm Gorm swept through southern Sweden on Sunday night, recording wind speeds of up to 32 metres per second. Here are some of the most dramatic photos to emerge from the chaos.

Nordic Noir
The Bridge ends as talk of fourth season starts
Sofia Helin, who plays The Bridge's main character Saga Norén, at the season three premiere. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

The Bridge ends as talk of fourth season starts

10 hours ago

Swedish public broadcaster SVT has said it is in discussion with production companies and writers about a fourth series of The Bridge, after the third season reached a dramatic conclusion over the weekend.

Refugee crisis
Sweden to give millions to Turkey refugee deal
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visiting refugees in Malmö last week. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Sweden to give millions to Turkey refugee deal

10 hours ago

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced on Sunday that Sweden would contribute to a joint action plan agreed by nine EU nations designed to limit the number of refugees arriving in Europe via Turkey.

My Swedish Career
'More Brits should move over to Sweden'
Photo: Private

'More Brits should move over to Sweden'

10 hours ago

Lorna Richardson, 42, recently moved from the UK to Umeå in northern Sweden, where she's started some unusual research involving both historic finds and the latest technologies.

Refugee crisis
Refugees beg to leave 'inhuman' Malmö shelter
Buses arrive at Malmömässan to deliver refugees. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Refugees beg to leave 'inhuman' Malmö shelter

1 day ago

Refugees sheltering in Malmö's 2013 Eurovision venue are begging to leave, with one describing it as a "prison" with "inhuman conditions", while Swedish nurses working there have been pulled out because of the health risks.

People-watching: November 28th-29th
Sponsored Article
The quickest route to UK Eurobonus destinations
Sponsored Article
11 reasons students pick Stockholm University
POLL: Swedes back new asylum rules
Sponsored Article
After Paris: 'The war is not only against Isis'
Blog updates

27 November

Editor’s blog, November 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, A decision by Sweden this week to impose new – much stricter than before –..." READ »


25 November

So What Does An Ambassador Do? (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I know that my mum is super proud that I’m an Ambassador. But if you asked..." READ »

Five weirdest Christmas attacks on Sweden's famous straw goat
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm solved a startup’s housing crisis
Five myths about Sweden's refugees
Sponsored Article
Swedish researchers find Ice Age 'missing link'
How did this missing Swedish cat turn up in southern France?
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
Sponsored Article
Beaches, bikes, and buds: studying in Malmö
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
Sponsored Article
Sweden must combat extremist 'mirage'
People-watching: November 25th
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
What do Swedes want for Christmas?
Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: the new epicentre of global leadership
GUIDE: How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Mystery ice circle in Swedish river
IN PICTURES: New royal winter snaps of Sweden's Princess Estelle
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Stockholm film festival's top movies
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Sponsored Article
‘Food choices in Sweden destroy forests in Asia’
People-watching: November 20th-22nd
Swedish King calls for bathtub ban
Analysis & Opinion
Why you should care about Sweden raising its terror threat level
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Stockholm's best international bars
Is this the best warning sign ever?
Why are more Swedes getting fat?
Sweden's tribute to Paris victims
What is Sweden's sexiest name?
VIDEO: Madonna's emotional tribute to Paris victims at Stockholm gig
Nine of the merriest Swedish Christmas fairs
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: