Dagens Nyheter applies for press subsidies

Sweden’s largest morning paper, Dagens Nyheter (DN), formally applied for state-sponsored press subsidies on Friday.

Because the paper now reaches a lower number of households than previously, DN can seek public support for 2009.

“It would be financially irresponsible not to seek [press subsidies],” said CEO Lena Herrmann to DN.

According to the newspaper’s management, DN meets the requirements for operational press support. The press support bylaws state that support can be offered if a newspaper’s household penetration drops below 30 percent.

DN’s editor-in-chief Thorbjörn Larsson attributed the drop in the number of homes reached by the paper to Stockholm being one of Europe’s most competitive media markets and because the number of households had increased.

The application was delivered to the Press Subsidies Council (Presstödsnämnden) on Friday afternoon.

DN couldn’t say how much money it may receive, but pointed out that its primary competitor, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) received the maximum allowable amount of operational support, 65.4 million kronor ($8.3 million), in 2008.

Ironically, DN is actually against the current system of press subsidies which, according to Larsson, is an outdated system that distorts competition.

“We believe that the supports should be fundamentally reformed, but as long as they exist, we’ll follow the prevailing rules,” he said.

The system of press support was initiated in the early 1970s.

The other major daily newspaper to receive support is the Malmö-based Skånska Dagbladet.