Papers: ‘monopoly’ to follow lower press subsidies

The heads of the Svenska Dagbladet and Skånska Dagbladet newspapers have come together to oppose the government’s plans for reducing press subsidies to big-city newspapers.

In a joint letter to the Ministry of Justice, Raoul Grünthal of Svenska Dagbladet and Richard Kling of Skånska Dagbladet write what the proposal amounts to “a serious threat” to the two newspapers and warn that portions of the press and advertising market may become monopolized.

According to the proposal, press subsidies to newspapers in large cities will be reduced incrementally from the current level of 65 million kronor ($10.7 million) to 17 million kronor. The reduction will start next year and be phased in over a five-year period.

Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet and Malmö-based Skånska Dagbladet believe the proposal may result in there being only two subscription-based morning newspapers in the capital, Dagens Nyheter and Dagens Industri, and one in Skåne, Sydsvenskan.

The Bonnier publishing group, which owns all three publications, would thus end up with a monopoly in the Stockholm and Skåne markets, they argue.