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First quarterly edition 2001
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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.



27 March 2001: The fourth nation wide radio channel allotted to DR

The Radio- and Television Board has decided that DR (Danmarks Radio, the national public service company), should be allotted the fourth nation wide radio channel.

On the Board's table were six applications from groups or single companies interested in running the channel.

According to the tender, the channel is supposed to be of a varied public service kind, mainly broadcasting classical music, supplied by a presentation of rytmical music, jazz and Danish music, cultural programmes and programmes covering community and debate, explains a newsletter published by DR.

A group of newspapers, comprising Det Berlingske Officin, Politiken and Jyllands-Posten, decided not to participate in the fight to run the fifth radio channel, even though the chairman for the Radio- and Television Board thought that the alliance had a fair chance to win the tender, Berlingske Tidende writes.

The decision to establish two new radio channels was taken during the negotiations concluding in the Media Agreement 2001 – 2004.

Source: DR/Berlingske Tidende

15 March 2001: 2000 was a good year at the box office

10,7 million sold tickets. That was the 2000-result at the Danish box office, according to figures from the Danish statistical bureau and the Danish Film Institute.

The year was better than the 1995-99 average, but still a quarter of a million less than the top year 1999. National productions in 1999 made up 28 percent of the box office.

2000 started less promising, Danish films teetering around the seven per cent mark in the first few months, but the attractive productions released in the autumn gave a rise to around 20 per cent for the whole year, quite a bit above average.

In fact, during the last ten years, it has only occurred thrice that national productions have sold more than two million tickets, according to the Danish Film Institute.

Source: The Danish Film Institute

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23 March 2001: YLE is still the company with the most listeners and viewers

The majority of Finns are still satisfied with YLE's output and feel that they get good value for their television fee, according to a press release from YLE, the Finnish public service company.

During 2000, YLE's radio channels accounted for 60% of all radio listening. There were 25% more broadcasts than in the previous year. Swedish-language and digital programme output increased, as did the broadcasting time of the regional radio channels.

Even though people watched YLE's television channels more than before, the company has still lost a percentage point of its market share to the commercial channels. YLE's television channels accounted for a total of 42% of all viewing. YLE's position as the television company with the largest number of viewers was maintained.

YLE's television programme time rose by 5.4%. Output in Swedish increased by twelve per cent. Domestic programmes accounted for 53 per cent of television programme output as a whole. European programmes accounted for 81%, repeats for 32% and domestic producers outside YLE for 19% of output, according to the press release.

Source: YLE Press Room

23 February 2001: Digital television broadcasting will commence on schedule

In Finland, digital television broadcasting will commence in the autumn 2001 as scheduled. According to a study assigned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, digital television receivers will be available already earlier in the autumn, states a press release from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Mr Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Minister of Transport and Communications, says that sufficient requirements for digital operations have now been met.

”I hope that the operators in the field will be able to swiftly increase the number of digital services so that the users will be provided with all the versatile opportunities of the digital television”, Minister Heinonen says.

The licensees have said that they will be ready to commence digital transmissions by 1 September 2001, in accordance with the terms of the licence. The supply of digital services will grow gradually during the autumn.

Digital television licences were granted in June 1999. National licences were granted to four general and three special channels. In addition, one regional licence was granted and one channel multiplex was reserved for public service broadcasting. The terms of the licences determine that seventy per cent of Finns must be able to follow digital transmissions by the end of this year. By the end of 2006, coverage must be national.

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications

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29 March 2001: The Government's Long Term Programme 2002-2005 implies a strong bid for culture

The Minister of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Ellen Horn, thinks that the the Government's Long Term Programme 2002-2005 also implies a foundation for a strong effort to promote culture.

In a press release from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the media sector is pinpointed as the main arena for conflict of opinion and cultural procurement in society. The independent media has a special role in this process, the press release states, and the function of the local newspapers is particularly mentioned.

Further from the press release: The Government's aim is to secure that the strong position of NRK as a public service broadcaster is maintained in the new, digital age. A satisfactory supply of programmes carrying elements of information and entertainment, produced in Norway, must be secured. Of particular interest are the efforts to uphold a high standard of quality in productions suitable for children and youth.

Norwegian language is challenged in the digital age. The Government will promote re and development in order to modify and adapt communication- and information products to the Norwegian language.

State support is necessary if a continued national film production is to be maintained, the press release states. The Government has started a process to re-adjust and increase the efficiency of the present support arrangements and the administration of the system.

The aim is to encourage the production of films that will be attractive to more people, and at the same time take care of the experimental and artistic dimensions, the press release states.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

29 March 2001: New invitation to tender for nation wide terrestrial broadcasting

The invitation to tender for nation wide terrestrial broadcasting issued last autumn, has been renewed by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

The final date for applications is set to May 30. In the invitation, the Ministry states that this licence was granted in 1991 to the company TV2 AS. The licence is to be awarded again for a period of seven years with effect from 1 January 2003.

As there is limited bandwidth available for analogue transmissions, only one licence will be granted in this round. The company headquarter and main activities of the licensee will have to be located in Bergen, like TV2 today.

The channel may be financed through various means including advertising and sponsor income within the bounds of the Broadcasting Regulations. Public funds will not be made available for establishing or operating the licensee's activities.

A tax will have to be paid for the license. NOK 150 million is to be paid at the start of the period of seven years. In addition an annual income-based tax will have to be paid.

The tax constitutes the foundation for an annual NOK 25 million grant that will be allotted to Norwegian film- and television production.

Read the full invitation to tender.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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3 April 2001: Children's reading habits are influenced by television and computers

The annual survey managed by the National Council for Cultural Affairs shows that more than 80 per cent of the Swedish people have been reading a book (not including education/work) during the last year.

There is a tendency towards an increase in the share of daily book readers in the last ten years.

However, there is one important exception, exposing another pattern, the press release from the National Council for Cultural Affairs states. The annual survey, seen in context with other indicators, shows that the reading habits of children are changing. In the long term, the printed book and comics has lost out to television and video watching.

Also, the development during the past few years makes it visible that the introduction of computers and the Internet have taken its toll, when children's reading inclinations are concerned.

The National Council for Cultural Affairs, founded in 1974, is responsible for implementing national cultural policy determined by the government and parliament.

Source: The National Council for Cultural Affairs

22 March 2001: The proposition "Radio and Television at the people's service 2002 – 2005" has been presented

The proposition "Radio and Television at the people's service" which was put forward 22 March, recommends more distinct guidelines for the programming activities of the three Swedish public service companies; Sveriges Radio (SR), Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Utbildningsradio (UR).

The proposition is presented in connection with the renewal of the governmental charter for the three companies for a new period, 2002 – 2005.

A press release from the Ministry of Culture describes the economical scope for the public service companies in the near future. There will be a two per cent increase in budgets per year and, in addition, SEK one billion is to be divided by the companies during the period covered by the charter. In 2002 SR, SVT and UR will receive SEK 6,265 billion, combined.

All the parties in Riksdagen (the Parliament) back the general lines for programming in the proposition. The proposals covering the economical conditions are supported by the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Environment Party.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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6 March 2001: Important agreement between NorDig members on common and open digital television standard

The most important TV and telecommunications companies and operators in the Nordic countries; Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, have, through their organisation NorDig, reached an agreement on March 6, 2001, on a successive transition to a common and open standard for interactive services etc.

The members agree to use DVB-MHP (Digital Video Broadcasting-Multimedia Home Platform). DVB is the European distribution standard for satellite and cable as well as terrestrial transmission. DVB now also covers a system for interactivity, a press release from NorDig states.

The press release comments: Today the Nordic operators work within different systems. The agreement follows the European aims for a standardisation within digital TV. The work within NorDig, started in 1997, is based upon accepted European and international standards.

The agreement of March 6 means that the NorDig members are committed to making the transition to DVB-MHP at the latest in 2005.

As from the end of 2001 all NorDig members will recommend the market to support only set top boxes that meet the specifications of NorDig I. And from the end of 2002 they will only offer their customers boxes that operate interactive services via DVB-MHP.

From that time on there will be no new interactivity in the present boxes only, but they will still function in the nets where systems like Open TV and MediaHighway are used. The present digital set top boxes can be used also after 2005 for conventional TV reception including teletext as well as the interactive services from today’s systems.

The DVB-MHP standard for interactive services will be used in the new digital nets that will be built in the near future; i.e. the terrestrial nets in Finland, Denmark and Norway.

Since the start NorDig has been working on specifying the demands of different aspects to be met by digital set top boxes. These demands are now linked to the plan for the transition to DVB-MHP. NorDig is at the moment trying to find the practical forms for testing digital boxes. The aim is to brand boxes that live up to the right standard with a NorDig logo.

- Choosing an open solution is a break through for Nordic co-operation and a clear signal to the rest of the world, says Arne Wessberg, head of the NorDig board, director general of YLE but also president of EBU. - I am convinced that this will stimulate the development of digital TV in all our countries. I hope that all Nordic households soon will be able to use the digital interactivity offered to them, the press release concludes.

Source: NorDig

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15 February 2001: The EU expert seminar, Children and Young People in the New Media Landscape

"Putting children's welfare first when we take decisions affecting their future is what the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child decrees", Sweden's Minister of Culture, Marita Ulvskog, said in her introductory speech at the expert seminar Children and Young People in the New Media Landscape, 11 – 12 February.

At the seminar, held in Stockholm, representatives of governments from EU Member States, EFTA countries and applicant countries, representatives of national authorities and EU institutions. TV companies, the Internet industry and computer games producers were present. Non-governmental organisations working for children's rights were also there, together with reers who look for new, more profound knowledge within the field of children and mass media.

Ms. Ulvskog elaborated on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, saying that "...the convention recognises the important role of the mass media. Both for children's freedom of expression and their ability to make their voice heard, for children's right to information and above all for quality of content which will promote the their development and well being. It also stresses the need for children to be protected against material that can harm their well being."

The Minister of Culture also pointed out that "... this spring will also see a half-time evaluation by the Commission on the action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet.

During such a dynamic period it is important for the Swedish EU presidency to be able to contribute by gathering together European expertise within this field for an in-depth discussion. It feels especially valuable – in this age of convergence – to be able to provide a venue for specialists both on TV and the Internet, and on video and computer games. We have much to learn from each other's experiences", the Minister of Culture stated.

Read more about the seminar in Stockholm.

Source: The website of the Swedish EU Presidency

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