SVT is a public limited company and is owned by an independent foundation, Förvaltningsstiftelsen för Sveriges Radio AB. This foundation's members are politicians appointed by the government. It is funded through a special licensing fee, which is allocated by the Swedish Riksdag. SVTs regulatory framework is by Swedish law and has its board and chairman appointed by the Swedish government. It is now separate from, but was until 1979 part of, Sveriges Radio, which is the public radio broadcaster. Its status could be described as that of a quasi-autonomous non-government organization.
SVT maintained a monopoly in domestic terrestrial broadcasting from the start in 1956 until the privately held TV4 started broadcasting terrestrially in 1992. It is barred from accepting advertisements except in the case of sponsors for major sporting events. Until the launch of the Swedish language satellite television channel TV3 in 1987, Sveriges Television provided the only Swedish television available to the public. SVT is still the biggest TV network in Sweden, with an audience share of 36.4%.