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Fourth quarterly edition 2000
  
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Denmark   |   Finland   |   Iceland   |   Norway   |   Sweden   |   Nordica

  Welcome to Nordic Media

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.

 

DENMARK 

22 November 2000: New policy for promoting closer co-operation between the sectors of trade and industry and culture

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms. Pia Gjellerup and the Minister for Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, have issued a joint statement and propositions for the promotion of a policy for closer co-operation between the sectors of culture and trade and industry.

Closer co-operation will trigger a new dynamics in society, strengthen the production of Danish art and culture and make way for new creativity, ideas and innovation in the sector of trade and industry, a press release from the Ministry of Culture states.

Already, the total revenues in the cultural sector are DKK 75 billion, the sector is employing almost 60,000 people, giving Denmark export income approaching DKK 16 billion. The rate of growth in this sector is among the highest in Denmark.

According to the statement, the characteristics of art and culture – among them creativity and the ability to tell a story – seem to become important parameters of competition for various kinds of business sectors. At the same time, cultural activities gain importance when competing for new employees, tourists and investments.

This teamwork seems not to be a passing tendency, but is a link in a global wave of change. The ability to readjust and to be innovative is becoming more and more important, in a market where values and identities can be bought, and where entertainment companies like Walt Disney, AOL/Time Warner and Sony are increasing their dominance in the main culture- and media sectors. Denmark wants to set its imprint on this development, and create its own version of it, but this is a demanding process.

If this process does not succeed, the Danish people will not have an alternative to Disney and American TV serials. The Danish Government, therefore, puts forward a proposition containing 13 initiatives, meant to strengthen the teamwork between culture and trade and industry. Among other things, the Government calls on the State Growth Fund to co-operate with private investors in creating a film investment fund, the press release states.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

15 November 2000: Go-ahead for terrestrial digital television

“The development of terrestrial digital television has now been given the green light”, a press release from the Ministry of Culture states.

”This means that the Danes in a few years time supposedly will be able to receive almost 20 Danish digital television channels, using their ordinary antenna. However, it is necessary to have a digital television set or a so called set-top-box.

It is expected that tenders will be invited for the new digital channels during 2001. However, the public service channels DR (Danmarks Radio) and TV 2 will , in advance, be promised four digital channels. This means that all their programmes may be transmitted digitally, while still also going to the viewers in the old fashioned – analogical - manner.

The final decision on digital television has been taken by the parties behind the March 2000 Media Agreement (2001 – 2004). The Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, will, however, offer all parties not participating in the Media Agreement, to join in the negotiations preceding the accomplishment of the agreement on digitalisation. This will secure that a broad majority is behind the very important decision.

The principle decision on utilising the third national television channel for terrestrial digital television was taken in connection with the Media Agreement of 1997 – 2000. Later on, tests were initiated, but in connection with the new media agreement the parties chose to let experts view the case in the light of new technological development. The experts recommended that it was wise to stick to the original decision, because the terrestrial method is the best and cheapest way to reach everyone with digital television.

The Minister of Culture has, in her proposal for amendments of the radio- and television law, paved the way for other companies than DR and TV 2 to distribute national, terrestrial television. According to the proposal, a council for radio and television should be established. Among other tasks, the council will be responsible for invitations for tenders for the digital channels. The council will then choose between the applicants”, the press release states.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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FINLAND 

20 December 2000: YLE to sell 49 % of Digita Oy to Télédiffusion de France

"Yleisradio Oy (YLE) is to sell 49% of its subsidiary (100%) Digita Oy to the French company Télédiffusion de France S.A. (TDF). The selling price will be 141 million euros. The sale requires the approval of the EU competition authorities", states a press release from YLE, the Finnish public service broadcasting company.

"YLE will have the option of selling all remaining shares in the company's ownership to TDF in one or several instalments and the buyer undertakes to purchase them. The option will apply from the date two years after the conclusion of the sale and end on 31 January 2005. TDF has the option of buying no more than 41% additional shares accordingly. This option will be valid between 1 July 2003 and 31 January 2005.

YLE will devote the funds from the sale to investments in the digitalisation of radio and television. Over the next six years, approx. 110 million euros will be spent on technical investments on digitalisation. The digitalisation of YLE's production and broadcasting technology was started in 1996. The cost to YLE of the technical investments in the digitalisation process in 1996-2006 will be approx. 170 million euros.

Digita Oy
Digita Oy is responsible for the terrestrial national television and radio broadcasting and transmission networks as well as for radio and television stations in Finland. Digita is also responsible for the digitalisation of the terrestrial radio and television network, develops technical solutions for interactive digital services, provides the audience with advice, runs the www.digitv.fi net service.

Digita supplies its other services, in particular the planning, construction and upkeep of wireless communication networks all over Finland. The company's turnover in 1999 was 65.9 million euros. The company has a staff of 385. Digita Oy was formerly YLE's Distribution Engineering, which was incorporated in 1999.

Télédiffusion de France (TDF)
TDF, a subsidiary of France Telecom, is Europe's leading provider of over-the-air and wireless solutions for broadcasters and telecom operators. TDF builds and operates infrastructures for terrestrial TV and radio, wireless telephony and wireless multimedia.

TDF has over 3700 employees internationally. TDF has presence in e.g. France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Estonia, Mexico and Finland. Year 1999 revenues were 720 million euros and the operating profit was 117,3 million euros", the press release states.

Source: YLE Press Releases

4 December 2000: Almost every Finn has access to broadband networks

Fibre optic cable covers 95 per cent of Finnish municipalities and 99 per cent of the population live in these municipalities. Altogether 95 per cent of Finns live within a few kilometres from high-speed fibre optic cable networks.

This data concerning the access to information networks appears in a study assigned by the Ministry of Transport of Communications of Finland.

In connecting households to the fibre optic cable network, it is rational to flexibly use both cable and radio technology. It would cost FIM 21 billion to provide all business and residential customers with fibre optic cable.

The problem is to extend the broadband network to the most remote municipalities and to provide everyone with an access regardless of the place of residence. However, it is easier to provide information society services than many conventional areas of service to archipelago and rural areas.

Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Minister of Transport and Communications, says that the basic situation is relatively good in Finland. ”The aim is to extend broadband connections to include everyone, because a diverse range of societal services can be offered through networks.”

”It is a challenge to reach a hundred per cent coverage in high-speed access. However, even greater challenge for an equal information society is to increase people’s readiness and ability to use and benefit from information networks”, Mr Heinonen says.

According to the study, it is usually not the best choice to connect the subscriber to the regional network with fibre optic cable. A better alternative is to decide case by case whether to use copper cable or radio technology. However, in new residential areas, it is wise to extend the fibre optic cable to house MDFs. In the future, digital television and electronic networks will also be channels for data transfer.

The quality of available services and the possibilities to obtain a customer terminal influence the decision of whether or not to acquire access to information networks. Some people are satisfied with an access at the working place. Mobile telephone technology is also replacing the need for fixed access. However, fixed copper cable connections do exist and they will probably be used more in the future.

The Finnish Parliament is now discussing a legislative proposal that would make it possible to lease the high band of the subscriber line. This is believed to reduce the prices of leasing and customer services. The high band connection of a telephone cable (xDSL) is fast enough to transmit such value services as email and continuous Internet access.

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications

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ICELAND 

14 December 2000: RÚV, Iceland`s national broadcasting company, raise licence fee

"The Ministry of Education has agreed that the national broadcasting company, RÚV, should raise licence fees by seven per cent from 1 January 2000", Daily News from Iceland writes.

"The fee will therefore rise from ISK 2,100 (USD 23.5) a month to ISK 2,250 (USD 25) VAT inclusive. This will mean a total increase from licence revenue of ISK 130 million (USD 1.45 million).

However, a statement from RÚV added that in order to maintain the standard of service as it is at present, the broadcasting body would need to increase the licence fee by 15 per cent", the internet newspaper writes.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

27 November 2000: Lína.Net to provide Internet via the power grid

“The network operator Lína.Net plans to offer access to the Internet via the power grid early next year. The first people to receive this service will be those living in the capital area”, Daily News from Iceland writes.

“A number of Reykjavík homes have already been involved in trials by Lína.Net in co-operation with Ascom and Siemens.

Eiríkur Bragason, managing director of Lína.Net, says customers can expect to pay from ISK 2,500 to 3,000 (USD 29 to 35) per month for constant Internet access. The service is both more powerful and cheaper than that currently offered via phone lines.

Siemens is carrying out similar trials in seven other European countries. Internet access via power lines works best in urban concentrations but is less well suited to rural areas where houses are often a long way from the base station”, Daily News from Iceland writes.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

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NORWAY 

30 November 2000: The challenge; to maintain electronic archives

“We must prevent that the footprints behind us disappear while we go. If we cannot meet the challenge; to maintain electronic archives, we face a dramatic situation”, the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Ellen Horn said while presenting a study from the National Archives and The Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the Government`s eNorway Action Plan.

In a press release the Minister of Cultural Affairs states that; “Constant changes in software and hardware may make electronic information inaccessible for the future, if special initiatives are not taken. If nothing is done, a lot of the traces left by the administration will disappear, and we will loose much of the source material for future re.

In view of this, the offensive attitude of the National Archives while working to find solutions to keep electronic information, is very encouraging Ms. Horn said. The challenges connected to maintain electronic archives has been further discussed in a Report from the Government to the Parliament on archives, libraries and museums. The majority in the parliamentary Standing Committee on Family, Cultural Affairs and Government Administration has decided to enable the State Archives System to master the demanding tasks in connection with keeping and maintaining electronic archives.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

27.11.2000: Should NRK become partly privatised?

Whether NRK (Norsk rikskringkasting, Norway`s state owned public service broadcasting company) should be privatised or not, ought to be analysed, says noted Norwegian law professor Jon Bing, who is also chairman of the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs.

Mr. Bing is asked by the newspaper Aftenposten to comment on the thought, mentioned by several as one of the options to be considered in order to save the company in the long run. In the short run, NRK must handle a budget deficit for 2000, to be covered in 2001. Earlier this year, professor Bing proposed a merger of NRK and telecom firm Telenor as a means of meeting challenges in today's media market.

NRK`s chairman of the board, Torger Reve, does not decline Jon Bing`s proposal. However, he finds that the most obvious thing to do, as a beginning, would be to make separate companies of several NRK divisions, and let them make alliances with private companies, writes Aftenposten.

Professor Bing says, according to the newspaper, that it is very important to start the thought process as to how the public service broadcaster NRK can maintain its status. Even if the very thought of privatising NRK might be repulsive to some, it has to be taken into consideration.

Source: Aftenposten

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SWEDEN 

1 December 2000: Web site for the Swedish Presidency of the EU established

The Swedish EU Presidency web site has gone on-line.

“Here you will be able to follow the work of the Council of Ministers until 30 June 2001. The new web site offers a broad range of material, including information about the approximately 1 700 meetings due to take place during the period of Sweden’s EU Presidency”, promise the editors of the web site.

“There is also a news subscription service that will provide you with news about different policy fields – and much more on the eu2001.se web site”.

Among the offers is Culture 2001, “… the collective name for all the cultural activities taking place in connection with the Swedish EU Presidency. The focus is on design, form, architecture, children's culture, music and film.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

1 December 2000: The final report from the Broadband Committee received by the Minister for Industry

The chairman of the Swedish Broadband Committee, Mr. Peter Roslund, has handed over the final report from the committee to the Minister for Industry, Mr. Björn Rosengren, a press release from the Ministry of Industry states.

”Among the proposals of the committee is the establishment of economic support for a broadband network between the small villages in the Swedish municipalities. Such a network may enable a large proportion of the villages to be connected with the national network that the Government has given Svenska Kraftnät (Swedish Power grid) the task to connect to the main centre in each municipality. The aim of the support is to create more competition in order to maintain lower subscription prices for the cosnumers”.

”We now have in place the last piece of the puzzle that constitutes the Government`s efforts to build an IT infrastructure in Sweden”, the Minister for Industry, Mr. Rosengren said, according to the press release.

The newspaper Dagens Nyheter comments: “Small villages, with between 50 and 3,000 inhabitants are given priority. Villages with fewer than 50 inhabitants get no financial support at all. The connections to the rural parts of the country will be very expensive to build. According to the committee chairman. Mr. Roslund, about 17 per cent of the Swedes live in such places”, Dagens Nyheter writes.

Source: The Ministry of Industry/Dagens Nyheter

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NORDICA 

28 November 2000: Orkla Media acquires Det Berlingske Officin AS

Orkla Media and Det Berlingske Officin are establishing the fifth largest media house in the Nordic area, according to a press release from Orkla Media.

The company will have a strong position in the Nordic and East-European media markets. The enterprises that are now combined in Orkla Media had a turnover in 1999 of approx. NOK 6.5 billion, an operating profit of MNOK 275 before restructuring expenses, and 7,752 man-years.

After negotiations with Danske Securities, representing a group of shareholders in Det Berlingske Officin AS, Orkla Media acquires 65% of the A shares and 87% of the B shares in Det Berlingske Officin. The transaction will leave Orkla Media with a stake of 87% including Det Berlingske Officin’s own holding.

The acquisition will take effect on 15 December 2000. Orkla ASA's Board of Directors has considered the matter and unanimously authorised the acquisition. The agreement has to be approved by Orkla ASA's Corporate Assembly and the Danish anti-trust authorities. A concluding due diligence process will be carried out. When this is completed, the purchase sum will be announced and the same offer will be made available to remaining shareholders.

Det Berlingske Officin is Denmark's largest newspaper house, with its main activities in the field of printed media and the Internet. Det Berlingske Officin owns Berlingske Tidende, a Danish national newspaper with a leading position in Greater Copenhagen and Denmark's largest market place for printed advertisements. Det Berlingske Officin also owns the tabloid BT and the weekly Weekendavisen.

Det Berlingske Officin also has ownership interests in several strongly positioned regional and local newspapers. Det Berlingske Officin is the main shareholder in Metropol Online, which is Denmark's leading player in electronic newspapers and classified ad services on the Internet. In 1999 Det Berlingske Officin AS recorded a turnover of DKK 2,932 million, an operating profit of DKK 95 million before restructuring expenses, and employed staff equivalent to 3,741 man-years.

Orkla Media is Norway’s second largest media house with operations in magazines in Norway, Direct Marketing in Norway, Denmark and Sweden and Sweden and newspapers in Norway, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. Orkla Media also has a considerate number of Internet-based operations. In 1999 Orkla Media recorded a turnover of MNOK 3,332, an operating profit of MNOK 171 and employed staff equivalent to 4,011 man-years.

Det Berlingske Officin will be established as a segment in its own right and consolidated as a subsidiary of Orkla Media as from 1 January 2001.

After the acquisition of Det Berlingske Officin, Orkla Media will be the fifth largest media house in the Nordic area. The acquisition gives a stronger footing for further expansion in the Nordic and East-European media markets. Orkla Media is the second largest player in the Polish newspapers market with a daily circulation of approx. 650,000.

The strategy of Orkla Media is to focus on advertisement media in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Det Berlingske Officin is Denmark’s leading newspaper company and consequently fits perfectly into Orkla Media’s strategy. Additionally, Det Berlingske Officin has – like Orkla Media - come a long way in developing its paper based market positions into the new market opportunities that arise through the Internet.

Orkla Media and the management of Det Berlingske Officin are agreed on the commercial direction and main goals of the Danish unit. The further development of Det Berlingske Officin will be based on its strategic plans. The Executive Board of Det Berlingske Officin, Joachim Malling and Niels Leth Espensen, continue as before. CEO Joachim Malling will in addition to this be part of Orkla Media’s Executive Board.

For full press release including tables: "Key figures 1999", go to http://reports.huginonline.com/799775/85110.pdf.

Source: Orkla Media

20 November 2000: n2art - web site for Nordic netart

n2art is one of the first publicly funded netart sites in the Nordic region. According to its on-line presentation, n2art offers an opportunity to present a spectrum of Nordic netart. The purpose of n2art is to create an exhibition venue where the works of art can be placed in a context, in which they will be presented and annotated. The works of art have been selected by a group of five Nordic curators.

n2art is established by the CultureNets in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and is funded by the Nordic CultureNets, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Culture Fund. The National CultureNets operate under the Ministry of Culture in the different Nordic Countries. CultureNet Denmark holds the project management and budgetary responsibility. ArtNet Norway – being a sector of CultureNet Norway – holds the site and server management and technical responsibility.

Source: n2art

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