Public service broadcasting is based on the concept that the state will inform, entertain and educate its population, and UR has always fulfilled this role. It produces educational programs, especially for children and young people. As of 2017, the air time of new telecasts for this target group amounted to more than 100 hours, broadcasted on Barnkanalen and Kunskapskanalen. Regarding topics, society and economy had by far the largest air time share at 1,155 hours. By contrast, mathematics accounted for the smallest air time share, with only 33 hours during the whole year.
Sveriges Television, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Corporation, as well as the public radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio AB was funded by license fees paid per household until the end of 2018. In the past ten years, annual TV and radio license fees increased in Sweden, reaching 2,400 Swedish kronor as of 2018. Most of the total license fee yields went to SVT in 2016 (roughly 4.77 billion Swedish kronor). Sveriges Radio got approximately 2.84 billion Swedish kronor, while the UR’s yields amounted to only 411.2 million Swedish kronor.
Television and radio licenses have been discussed for many years. A survey conducted by the SOM Institute in 2017 found that 14 percent of Swedish respondents stated that the license fee is very much worth the money, whereas 21 percent of individuals did not think that public broadcasting is worth the money at all. Particularly young people were not convinced by this concept – more than half of 16 to 29-year-olds stated the radio and TV license fee to be not worth the money. In comparison, the share of 65 to 85-year-olds was 39 percent.
From January 1, 2019, the general license fee was replaced by a fee charged through taxes.