The changing face of Danish Television

The analogue switch-off a couple of years ago changed the Danish TV landscape and language. It brought new vocabulary and new technical devices into many homes. In January 2012, the second phase of the digital switch-off - from MPEG 2 to solely MPEG4 - will affect around 10% of households.

Changes for the Big Two

One of Denmark's key channels, TV 2, will be in the spotlight next year. It will be changing from a free-to-air to a pay channel, losing its "Must Carry" status. This could cause a fundamental change in the competitive stakes. So far, TV 2 has been the only commercial channel with 100% penetration. Pay TV's current share stands at around 84%. This might change as some households may choose not to take out subscription for TV 2, or will perhaps reconsider their television solution entirely.

Meanwhile, DR, the other key channel, will also be changing in 2012. It will begin transmitting in 'nearly HD' (720p bitrate/6,5 MBit/s).

A nation glued to the box

Since 1992, as the graph shows, Danish television has seen a constant rise in viewers. It was 2008 when the growth really kicked in though. Viewing increased from 2 hours and 28 minutes in 2007 to 3 hours and 9 minutes in 2009. In 2010 it was higher still: 3 hours and 21 minutes. This high level is being maintained in 2011. July in particular saw increased viewing patterns with the Norwegian Utøya tragedy, the Tour de France and an extremely wet summer. In fact, the 2011 summer viewing has even surpassed the 2010 figures - despite competing with the World Cup.


The Danish market has two dominating key players. Together, TV2 and DR have an average share of 73%. But both their figures have decreased since 2010 as viewers increasingly turn to niche channels.

Studies are indicating that younger viewers are increasingly using several media simultaneously. For example: browsing the web while watching TV. However, television as a medium isn't suffering from increased internet use. They complement rather than compete.

Throw out the TV guide

Content providers are increasingly giving consumers the choice of how they wish to watch their programmes. These include streaming to other platforms in the home and VOD services. Viewers can now watch what they want, when they want, where they want it. However, television viewing through home television sets remains predominant. Large-scale time shifted viewing is yet to be seen. But this hasn't stopped content providers from providing opportunities for consumers to make the most of the new media.

Continuing a long relationship

In August 2011, TNS Gallup, part of the Kantar Media network, signed a continuation of the contract they first agreed in 1992, committing to three more years of audience measurement.

The next big task for our industry is to determine which methodology will provide the most consistent measurement of TV programme viewing across multiple platforms. The first step towards this goal is the implementation of a test panel measuring online TV viewing habits in Denmark using Kantar Media's VirtualMeter technology.
When the new contract expires in 2015, TNS Gallup will have been measuring audiences in Denmark for 24 years - just one year off a silver anniversary. Such a long relationship speaks volumes about the reliable service they provide and the enduring Danish love for television.

Frank Klausen is Associate Director, TNS Gallup, Denmark.  He is based in Copenhagen. TNS Gallup is part of the Kantar Media Network.

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