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Third quarterly edition 2000
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The quarterly editions of Nordic Media, from 1994 onwards, are available on the net. Nordic Media is a summary of the contents of Medier i Norden: Resymé (Scandinavian languages news bulletin).

Nordic Media may be quoted, provided the source is clearly stated.

  Editor                                                      Publisher
Terje Flisen (TF)                                        Secretary General Søren Christensen
Postboks 1726 Vika                                  Nordic Council of Ministers,
0121 Oslo, Norge                                      Store Strandstræde 18
Tel. + 47 22 20 80 61                                 DK-1255 København K., Denmark

Nordic Media (previously Nordic Media News) ISSN 1396-934X – electronic edition.



28 September 2000: Working group recommends terrestrial digital television

“We see no reasons to alter the decision to introduce terrestrial digital television in Denmark. It is both easier and less costly and will not hamper the development of interactive broadband services”.

This is the conclusion of a working group appointed by the Ministry of Culture. “The basic principle to introduce terrestrial television has its origin as early as 1996. However, the March 2000 Media Agreement included the appointment of a working group consisting of experts in the field to investigate the matter in view of the latest technological development”, informs a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

“Inherit in digital television is the improvement of the picture quality, broader programming and the possibility of using television in interactive ways. When building a terrestrial network one can ensure that digital television – including the Danmark Radio channel DR2 – may be received by everyone in the posession of an ordinary antenna. However, it will be necessary to obtain digital set top boxes, as is the case for those receiving digital television via satellite and cable networks.

On this basis the working group recommends to maintain the basic principle to introduce terrestrial digital television as a supplement to digital television transmissions via satellite and cable networks. It will also be necessary to make amendments in the radio- and television law as soon as possible. The working group also recommends that the government send invitations to tender for licences to transmit terrestrial digital television in the near future. It is important that a decision on this is taken soon, because the selected companies will be able to make preparations for the transmissions in co-operation.

The Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, has sent the report from the working group to the media spokesmen of the political parties standing behind the Media Agreement, in order to reach a final decision in the matter”, states the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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11 September 2000: Digital television broadcasts started in Finland

"The first terrestrial digital television broadcasts were launched in the South of Finland at the beginning of September", states a press release issued by YLE Communications. "During the initial phase, the programmes of YLE TV 1, YLE TV 2 and of both of the commercial television channels, MTV3 and Channel Four, will be broadcast in parallel over the digital network.

In addition, YLE will be carrying two special digital channels from the Olympic Games in Sydney as a technical test from mid-September until the conclusion of the Games. They are intended essentially for internal use by industry and commerce.

The digitalisation of the transmission network currently covers 39 per cent of the Finnish population. The aim is for the terrestrial digital television network to cover seventy per cent of the population by the end of 2001.

27th August 2001 has been set as the national launch date for digital television in Finland, when broadcasts will start up on all of the channels. There are eight new channels in store: from YLE, a news channel, a cultural, educational and science channel and a Swedish-language channel, and, from the commercial side, City-TV, a Sports Channel, Helsinki Media's film channel, WSOY's school channel, Wellnet and Canal+", the press release states.

Source: YLE Communications

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19 September 2000: Lack of interest in new Icelandic film studio

"Last August the former president of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, dug the first spade of earth for what was to be the first of many film studios. Today, this 2,000 square metre studio is up for sale", writes Daily News from Iceland.

"The studio, located in a suburb of Reykjavík, was built on the heels of a new law which was to offer tax breaks for film companies shooting their movies in Iceland. The law was passed in order to lure production companies to Iceland.

According to Saga Film, the main owners of the studio, there are three reasons why the studio is for sale. At the moment, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how the law will be realised, specifically, how much money will be reimbursed to foreign production companies.

Owners also felt they would be able to rent out the building for other purposes, such as conventions or concerts, but now Reykjavík city authorities have committed funds to the construction of a new multi-purpose facility in the Laugardalur area of the city.

Finally, and most surprisingly, is a lack of interest on the part of Icelandic filmmakers to use the studio's facilities", writes Daily News from Iceland.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

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15 September 2000: Nation wide terrestrial television broadcasting licence open for tender

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs invites applications for a licence for nation wide terrestrial television broadcasting. The licence is to be awarded with effect from 1 January 2003, and will then be valid for a period of ten years.

The licence was first granted in 1991 to the company TV 2 AS.

"In 1990, the Norwegian Storting (parliament) decided that a licence for the establishment of a television channel to transmit via analogue terrestrial transmitters in Norway nation wide programmes financed by advertising might be granted", the Ministry of Culture states in the invitation to tender.

The Ministry has outlined in a document the information that the applications must contain, the award procedure, and the conditions the Ministry is expected to make in respect of the licence. As there are limited frequency resources available for analogue transmissions, only one nation wide licence will be granted in this round, states the Ministry.

"The Ministry would like to point out that other, regional analogue frequencies may be awarded to other parties for television transmissions. This primarily concerns frequencies in western and northern Norway. The authorities may also award licences for the broadcasting by satellite of television programmes which may be received via satellite dish and/or cable connections by a significant part of the population", the Ministry says in the invitation.

Further: "Following any development of a nation wide, terrestrial network for digital transmissions, further television licences for nation wide transmissions may be awarded. The licensee must accept the establishment of such competitive television channels and other new applications of frequency resources without any amendment to its own licence terms", the Ministry states.

Read the full text of the invitation to tender.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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20 September 2000: More money for press subsidies and public service institutions in the culture budget

“The goal for the media policy is to support the freedom of speech, diversity, the independence and accessibility of the mass media, in addition to the prevention of harmful content in the mass media”, states a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture in connection with the publication of the culture budget for 2001.

“Several newspapers is in a difficult economic state”, says the press release. “In order to protect the diversity it is proposed to raise the subsidies of running expenses with 3 per cent, starting from 2001. The proposal implies that the newspapers eligible for subsidies will receive an additional SEK 14 million per year.

The Council responsible for press subsidy (Presstödsnämndsnämnden) is asked to review the suppositions for strengthening the ability of the newspapers to restructure activities regarding the development in the media field and the technological development.

The government’s strong bid for the development of public service continues. Sveriges Television AB (SVT), Sveriges Radio AB (SR) and Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB (UR), will get an additional SEK 45 million in 2001, intended for renewal, especially when new technology is concerned. SVT will in addition get another SEK 75 million intended for the build up of highly qualified program production. SR will get SEK 5 million, destined for the protection of quality in the production of programs.

A working group consisting of representatives from all political parties in the parliament (Riksdagen) is in the progress of making proposals for the guidelines for the public service companies, to be in force for the next licence period, starting 2002.

The government proposes that terrestrial digital television transmissions is expanded to comprise the whole country.

Important work is in progress to protect children and young people from harmful media content, for instance violence and pornography. This question will be a focal point during the coming Swedish chairmanship in the European Union. A seminar aimed at investigating the role of children and young people in the new media society will be held in Stockholm 12 – 13 February 2001”, states the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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19 September 2000: Steady increase in revenue for global entertainment and media industry

A new book from PricewaterhouseCoopers points out that the global entertainment and media industry will be approaching US$1 Trillion by 2004.

The development is driven by a worldwide technological revolution, regulatory changes and a robust economic climate, and the revenues will grow at a seven per cent annual rate, according to a new five-year global economic forecast – Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2000-2004.

"Specifically, the growth of the entertainment and media industry is being fuelled by the far-reaching transformation of digital technology, with the largest impact occurring in the United States", states the press release from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Double-digit Internet and cable industry growth will propel the U.S. to a US $443 billion industry total in 2004. Asia/Pacific, stoked by double-digit increases for station, cable and DBS distribution and Internet spending, will grow nearly as fast as the U.S – peaking at US $217 billion in 2004. Continuing the trend, double-digit Internet growth will carry Europe to a US $313 billion total five years from now", according to the press release.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

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