The Swedish media distribution industry

Photo caption: Swedish Entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom, founder of Skype, Joost, and Kazaa.

Photo: Robert Scoble

Sweden is in a strong position to capitalize on the on-going media revolution. The nation’s flagship in mobile communication systems, Ericsson, is a worldwide presence. Other companies, such as Spotify, Skype and Mojang, have grown to be household names both in Sweden and elsewhere. With a long tradition in freedom of expression and communication in the world, Sweden was an early innovator in these fields, explains some of the country’s success, as does high education levels and a consumer base that includes plenty of early adopters. A stable environmental and political climate, no natural disasters above a strong storm or two and the absence of war in the last couple of centuries has also contributed to this.

Some of these advantages are no longer exclusive to Sweden, however. For example, not long ago, the extent of Sweden’s broadband coverage was unique. Today, South Korea and several other countries rival it.

Fiber broadband is still the fastest, most secure and cost-effective access technology. As fiber coverage becomes widespread, Swedish industry will have to provide a world-class user experience with top quality, innovative business solutions and seamless transfer between different access technologies. The competition on the infrastructure market is currently hindering such an evolution.

Concurrently, the content distribution market is becoming more international; new global operators have already moved in on the Swedish market, breaking up the traditional media oligopolies. One result is a fragmenting of the landscape. Behind this seemingly sound competition there is, however, a movement towards new monopolies. One example would be companies such as Netflix who build intellectual property banks, i.e. manage to gather exclusive rights to large volumes of quality content. Another example is Google, with a base in an increasing number of content distribution patents and with its global market-leading position, strengthens the world-wide grip over what content is being distributed.

This could potentially be extremely detrimental.

This is article is a section of the Swedish research agenda Future Media Distribution

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