Majority of Surveyed Advertisers Want RÚV to Stay on Ad Market

Minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir

A recent study conducted by the Bifröst University examined the attitudes of large advertisers towards RÚV’s presence in the advertising market. The majority of respondents were in favour of RÚV remaining in the ad market.

Majority in favour

The question of whether or not the National Broadcaster (RÚV) should remain in the advertising market has long been a controversial one. In broad strokes, opponents argue that RÚV, being partly funded by government subsidies, enjoys an unfair advantage over private media companies, while proponents maintain that RÚV’s programming would suffer and that a portion of the ad revenue that RÚV would receive would be diverted to foreign advertisers (Google, Facebook, e.g.). Minister of Culture and Business Affairs Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir recently announced that she would not be withdrawing RÚV from the ad market. (A working group was established in April to examine the effect of the withdrawal.)

A recent study conducted by Bifröst University has now shed light on the perspectives of advertisers regarding the potential removal of RÚV from the advertising market. During a seminar held in the House of Business, some significant findings were presented yesterday morning, RÚV reports.

The survey’s authors sent a questionnaire to 111 executives of Icelandic companies and received 56 responses. Out of the respondents, around 30% were from companies with over 200 full-time employees, while 19% represented companies with 100 to 200 employees. The researchers were satisfied with the response rate.

One of the key insights from the study revealed that approximately 36% of advertisers expressed their intentions to either reduce their advertising budget or redirect it outside the country if RÚV was eliminated from the advertising market. The survey also found that a majority of the respondents, about 64%, viewed the removal of RÚV from the advertising market in a negative light.

Following the presentation of the research findings, a panel discussion was held with marketers active in the advertising market.

20% to divert funds to foreign media

Nearly half of the respondents in the survey believe that advertising funds currently allocated by marketers would shift, to some extent, towards other media channels. Over 20% of advertisers stated that they would completely divert their advertising budgets to foreign social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

The study also found that Sjónvarp Símans was identified as the private media company that stood to benefit the most from the removal of RÚV from the advertising market. However, only around 19% of respondents expressed their intention to advertise there. A smaller percentage, specifically 7%, indicated their preference for advertising with Stöð 2, Stöð 2+, and Sýn’s sports channels.

Conversely, the radio segment of the survey revealed a different trend. If RÚV were to be removed from the advertising market, 47.6% of advertisers would shift their focus to Sýn’s radio platform. Bylgjan, Sýn’s most popular radio station, was identified as a favoured prospect.

It is noteworthy that 9.5% of advertisers expressed interest in targeting podcast listeners and considered advertising on that platform. Additionally, 7.1% of respondents stated their intention to advertise with Árvakur’s radio media (Árvakur is the publisher of Morgunblaðið).

Filmed commercials to decrease significantly

The study noted that the film industry would undoubtedly face significant consequences if RÚV were to be removed from the market. Over 30% of respondents indicated that they would either greatly reduce their production of filmed TV commercials or cease production altogether in such a scenario.

The survey conducted by the researchers also aimed to explore other aspects, including the comments made in relation to the bankruptcy of Torg ehf, the company that owned and operated the media outlets Fréttablaðið and Hringbraut. Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson, the former editor of Fréttablaðið, argued that RÚV’s dominant market position had played a part in the company’s bankruptcy.

Respondents were asked about their perceptions regarding the impact of RÚV’s presence in the advertising market on the bankruptcy. Around 67% stated that they believed RÚV had little or no influence on Fréttablaðið’s fate. Regarding the TV station Hringbraut, half of the respondents held the belief that RÚV played little or no role in its closure.


As noted by RÚV, the study’s main results indicated the following:

Two out of three respondents were in favour of the status quo, that is, of RÚV remaining in the advertising market.

84% of participants use RÚV to publish TV and radio advertisements.

35% of advertisers said they were likely to transfer their advertising money to other national TV channels if RÚV was taken off the market.

36% of advertisers would either reduce advertising money or divert it to foreign media.

59% of participants believe that the absence of RÚV would have a major impact on their ability to achieve set advertising goals.

63% of advertisers who produce filmed ads think it is likely that they will reduce that production if RÚV were removed from the ad market.

Icelandverse Skewers Zuckerberg, Welcomes Visitors to Its ‘Immersive, Open-World Experience’

Icelandverse - Facebook - Zuckerberg

A new tourism ad from Inspired by Iceland skewers Mark Zuckerberg and his Metaverse, Vísir reports. The ad has already caught the attention of news outlets all over the world and has even been seen by the man himself, who seems to appreciate the joke.

In the ad, actor Jörundur Ragnarsson plays Zack Mosbergsson, a Zuckerberg lookalike with a Ceasar haircut and black shirt and pants, who wants to introduce a “revolutionary approach to connect our world…without being super weird.” This Icelandverse, he continues, is “enhanced, actual reality without silly-looking headsets.”

“In our open-world experience, everything is real,” says Zack, before walking into a glass door. “It’s completely immersive, with water that’s wet,” he pauses, dipping his hands into a pool at the Blue Lagoon. “With humans to connect with.”

Director of Marketing Sveinn Birkir Björnsson says the ad was meant “to show that it’s possible to experience amazing things even though you’re not in any sort of virtual reality. Amazing things exist in reality.”

Mark Zuckerberg saw the video less than a day after it went live, and left a comment on the video saying, “Amazing. I need to make a trip to the Icelandverse soon. Glad you’re wearing sunscreen too 🤣”

Inspired by Iceland was quick to respond: “Oh, hi Mark! You’re always welcome. Icelandverse is open 24/7!”

Iceland Invites You to Scream Out Your Lockdown Frustrations

let it out promote iceland advertising campaign

“You’ve been through a lot this year and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast, and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland.” These are the words of a new advertising campaign from Promote Iceland that invites people around the world to scream out their lockdown frustrations. The screams are recorded via the campaign’s website and “released” into Iceland’s landscapes via speakers set up across the country.

Speakers to broadcast the screams have already been set up at seven locations across Iceland including Skógarfoss waterfall, South Iceland; below Snæfellsjökull glacier, West Iceland; on Rauðisandur beach in the Westfjords; and Víðey island off the coast of Reykjavík. Participants receive a video of their scream being broadcast in one of the locations.

“We want to draw prospective tourists’ attention to the fact that it’s relatively safe to travel to Iceland and that here you can experience beautiful nature without crowds, which is something that we think people will seek out when interest in travel increases again,” stated Promote Iceland’s tourism program director Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir. “It is important to draw attention to Iceland’s advantages now. People are dreaming about the time when it will be possible to travel again and even planning trips in the near future. We want to be a part of that conversation.”

Read more: Icelandic Government Invests ISK 1.5 Billion in Tourism Ad Campaign

A campaign disclaimer reminds participants that while screaming may be therapeutic, it is only “a starting point. If you need mental health support it is imperative that you seek out professional help.”

Readers can record their own screams on the campaign website.

Icelandic Government Invests ISK 1.5 Billion in Tourism Ad Campaign

tourist selfie jökulsárlón

To counter the economic impact of COVID-19, Iceland’s government has hired two advertising agencies to create a campaign promoting the country as a travel destination. The country will invest ISK 1.5 billion ($10.3 million/€9.5 million) towards the initiative. Iceland’s Prime Minister announced yesterday that the country would reopen its borders no later than June 15 and provide coronavirus tests to arriving travellers.

The campaign is titled “Ísland – saman í sókn,” loosely translated as “Iceland – onward together.” According to a notice on Promote Iceland’s website, the aim of the campaign is to “strengthen Iceland’s image, increase demand, and maintain Icelandic tourism’s competitiveness” in select foreign markets.

A team of two advertising agencies, the UK-based international M&C Saatchi and Icelandic agency Peel presented the winning bid for the project. Notably, M&C Saatchi made headlines last year due to an accounting scandal that led to the resignation of four executives at the company, as reported by Fifteen bids were received for the project, which was advertised across the European Economic Area.

Minister of Justice Wants to Legalize Alcohol Ads

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir wants to legalize ads for alcohol, saying banning them isn’t working and discriminates against Icelandic producers. RÚV reports that a parliamentary bill is currently being drafted which, if passed, would make alcohol advertisements legal in Iceland.

Áslaug Arna has recently presented a draft bill to Alþingi which would allow for Iceland’s state-run liquor stores to sell alcohol online. It is currently legal for Icelanders to buy alcohol from foreign companies and have it shipped to their homes (subject to import duties), but they must go in-person to purchase alcohol sold in Iceland.

The minister asserts that allowing Icelandic alcohol producers to start advertising would give them an equal footing with their foreign counterparts. “There are, of course, alcohol ads everywhere today—when we’re watching foreign sports on TV, browsing foreign magazines, or on all these social media sites today. So the ban isn’t working.”

A survey prepared for the Minister of Education on the business environment in media also proposed that the current ban on alcohol advertising in Iceland be overturned.

Ólafur Stephensen, CEO of the Icelandic Federation of Trade, says that the same reasoning that applies to allowing the sale of alcohol online in Iceland applies to this issue. Icelandic businesses have, he affirms, agreed to abide by very strict regulations, should the ban be overturned.

Unsurprisingly, however, not everyone is in favour of the proposed change. Árni Guðmundsson, the chair of the Parental Association Against Alcohol Advertising, says that children’s right to not encounter alcohol propaganda is more important than business considerations. He says that alcohol advertising is aimed at children and teens and that just because alcohol advertisements come into Iceland from other places, that’s no reason to relax public health and prevention criteria.

Áslaug Arna argues however that since the ban isn’t working, it would make more sense to set specific regulations on advertising.

Icelandic Influencers Banned From Using Hidden Advertising

The Consumer Agency has ruled that two Icelandic social media influencers were not clear enough that some of their Instagram posts were in fact product advertisements. The Agency has banned both Sólrun Lilja Diego Elmarsdóttir and Tinna Alavisdóttir from using hidden advertising on the platform in the future, threatening fines if they do so.

The Agency was tipped off about the potential advertisements and requested information from the two women about whether or not they had received remuneration from the relevant companies for making the posts as well as how the business relationships with the companies were conducted. Although neither Sólrún nor Tinna received cash payments for the advertisements, they did receive free products in exchange for the promotion.

The consumer agency considered these “gifts” to be remuneration and that the Instagram posts did not make it sufficiently clear that they were made for commercial purposes.