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Second 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).

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  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.



20 June 2001: Television channels to be distributed via Internet in the digital future

In an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, the Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, says that she will make a strong bid for what the paper calls the most "daring model"; i. e. the distribution of more than 40 television channels via the Internet.

"This means nothing less than an entire restructuring of the ways to use television", Berlingske Tidende writes.

The new digital television universe of Denmark will comprise the public service companies; DR and TV 2, as well as the commercial stations like TV3 and TvDanmark. In addition, the Minister wants more than 40 Internet-distributed television channels.

"This solution is the most visionary, taking into consideration that we want to promote a cultural policy meant to strengthen people's democratic rights", Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen says, according to Berlingske Tidende.

The talks in Folketinget (the Parliament) concerning media issues continues. The aim is to reach an agreement among the political parties, including the "daring model" of the Minister of Culture, in the fall of 2001.

Source: Berlingske Tidende

10 May 2001: The Danes crowd before the box office, to see Danish films

A preliminary estimate from the Danish Film Institute indicates that the market share of Danish films at the box office was 35 per cent during the first four months of 2001, or more than 1,5 million tickets.

This is a market share approximately 15 per cent higher than what the balance sheet showed for the fiscal year 2000.

On the whole, the box office figures for the first months of 2001 are very high, amounting to a 7 per cent increase compared with last year, a press release from the Film Institute states.

The main cause of this development is the great attraction directed by Lone Scherfig; "Italiensk for begyndere", "Italian for novices", produced by Zentropa. In the first four months of 2001 more than 570.000 Danes bought tickets to see the film, making a total of 835.000 tickets including the ones sold in the fall of 2000.

Source: The Danish Film Institute

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18 May 2001: Working group proposes to halve the operating licence fee levied on commercial television companies

A working group appointed in February 2001 with the aim to propose actions in order to improve the operational basis for television, has given its submission to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The mandate for the group was that the proposals should support the entire branch of industry and ensure the status of public service. Consumer’s viewpoint and high-quality content production as groundwork for high-quality television broadcasting were also starting points for the working group.

The working group proposes that
1) no operating licence fees be charged with regard to digital television broadcasting for the valid licence period (ending by 31 August 2010), and the operating licence fee be halved with regard to analogue broadcasting in connection with the comprehensive reform of general communications legislation, which should enter into force on 1 July 2002.
2) television fee system be reformed so that from 2004 onwards the fee will be reviewed each year. The review in 2004 will also consider the costs of new content service development and the inflation rate since the previous increase in the television fee. From the beginning of 2005 the television fee will be raised annually to meet the inflation rate and a raise of 1% will be added to cover the costs of overlapping analogue and digital broadcasting and development of content services. This raise of 1% will remain in force until the overlapping analogue and digital operations cease.
3) for the sake of clarity in financing of television broadcasting, all advertising on YLE channels be dropped.
4) there be no changes in the definition of public service.
5) while carrying out its public service task, YLE should also use new distribution channels (so-called new services).

The working group based its proposals on the fact that YLE will implement the ongoing strategic measures and take into account the income from asset sales that will influence the company’s financial status.

In addition, the working group supports aims to develop digital content production, its new systems and sources of finance and proposes that the programme time of independent producers referred to in section 17 of the Act on Television and Radio Operations or the percentages related to their programme budget be increased from 10 to 15%.

If approved, the proposal would reduce MTV3 Channel's annual costs by more than MFIM 100. According to the proposal, digital television channels will not be required to pay an operating licence fee, the owner of MTV3, Alma Media Corporation, points out.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications/ Alma Media Corporation

9 May 2001: Short message market will continue to grow this year

"In 2000, around one billion short messages were sent in Finnish mobile networks", according to a press release from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. "The value of the short message market was around FIM 840 million. This information is included in a re study assigned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on the Finnish SMS (short message services) market, its origins and reasons for its growth.

In 2000, the number of short messages and the value of the market grew by 40 per cent and the growth of the market is expected to continue this year. However, the growth rate will probably slow down to 30 per cent. In 2002, there will still be some growth in the number of short messages but the total value of the market will fall, because the price of short messages will go down and content services based on other technologies will increase in popularity.

The short message market comprises of person-to-person messages and SMS-based content services. Person-to-person messages will probably be popular for several years. Competition, which so far has not been strong in the Finnish person-to-person short message market, will intensify, if smaller operators will be able to increase their market shares.

In 2000, SMS-based content services made up approximately a tenth of the market. Today, those customers have slowly started to use services based on new technologies.

The short message market is largely managed by the two biggest Finnish mobile phone operators, Sonera Corporation and Oy Radiolinja Ab, whereas content services of short messages are offered by several small, private service providers and the biggest media groups such as Weather Service Finland, WapIT, Alma Media and Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE.

Finland is known as a pioneer in short messaging. However, re results show that Finland’s lead over other countries is narrowing. For example in Norway, the value of the short message market grew more than 90 per cent in a year", according to the press release.

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications

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18 May 2001: Foreign filmmakers are welcome to Iceland

Iceland’s minister of trade, Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir, thought that the Cannes Film Festival would be a good place to be when trying to persuade foreign filmmakers to come to Iceland, according to Daily News from Iceland.

Ms. Sverrisdóttir had Iceland’s new law behind her when talking to filmmakers in Cannes, a law which "will partially reimburse production costs for those foreign filmmakers producing movies in the country", Daily News from Iceland writes

"The Minister told Morgunbladid that she hopes these paybacks will bring more foreign filmmakers to Iceland, further strengthening the country’s film industry.

`This is not unlike what other nations have been doing to attract film investment to their countries,` Sverrisdottir said. `If we are going to compete against other nations, this is something we have to do.`

The repayment laws are temporary and will be re-evaluated in the year 2006", Daily News from Iceland writes.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

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7 June 2001: Norwegian films, a huge success at the box office

During the first five months of 2001 Norwegian films have taken a hefty bit of the market share. According to a press release from the Norwegian Film Institute 1,3 million Norwegians bought tickets to see Norwegian films, primarily two films, "Elling", based on novels by the popular author Ingvar Ambjørnsen, and most surprisingly; the documentary "Heftig og begeistret" (approx. "Intense and enthusiastic").

The Film Institute has to look back to 1996 ("Kristin Lavransdatter") to find something similar to what is now happening. If the trend continues, and the two films still (June 2001) draw a crowd, the market share at the box office of the national films will be well above 10 per cent, in contrast to 5,5 per cent in 2000.

The income so far from the box office has exceeded the production costs of the nationally produced films premiered in 2001, the press release from the Film Institute states.

Source: The Norwegian Film Institute

26 April 2001: The Minister of Cultural Affairs wants a strong public service broadcaster No commercial advertising and continued license fee as the main source of income. Ms. Ellen Horn, the Minister of Cultural Affairs, in her yearly statement to Stortinget (the Parliament) on the Norwegian media situation, made it clear that this still must be the rule for Norsk rikskringkasting, NRK, the state owned public service broadcaster.

Ms. Horn was speaking of the digital development, and the seemingly promising future for broadcasters willing to communicate with the public in new ways. Her main point was that NRK and the traditions it stands for is more needed than ever in a time when commercialism pervades the media development. NRK is the jewel in the crown of the Norwegian media realm, she declared.

Besides, the market for commercial television in Norway per year is less than the yearly budget for NRK`s activities. To introduce NRK as a competitor in such a market would be fatal for everyone, the Minister stated.

NRK has put forward a proposal to the Ministry, pointing out that it will cost billions of NOK (kroner) to make the organisation ready and fit for the digital age. The Minister said that she in due course will put the matter before Stortinget (the Parliament) in a report which covers the whole of the Norwegian media scene. The next national budget will also include proposals concerning the future of NRK.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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14 June 2001: The operating license fee for TV4 is halved in 2001

"The Swedish parliament has decided to waive Sweden's TV4 AB operating licence fee for the first six months of 2001", a press release from Alma Media Corporation states. The estimate is that TV4 will reduce its total fee this year by approximately SEK 200 million.

Alma Media is TV4 AB's largest owner with 23.4 percent of the share capital.

"Under the new model the operating licence fee in 2002 will nevertheless start at the same level as in 2000. The Swedish parliament has requested the government to review the basis for calculating TV4's operating licence fee in general and, in particular to waive the fee on digital broadcasts altogether.

Earlier this year TV4 was released from having to pay the fixed part of the operating licence fee for the first quarter of 2001 since operating licences covering digital commercial television broadcasting had been awarded to several television companies", according to the press release.

Source: Alma Media Corporation

21 May 2001: Transmission permissions for commercial local radio will no longer be put up to auction

"I am very satisfied. As long back as in the 1994 electoral campaign the Social Democratic party promised to get rid of the auction principle when issuing transmission permissions for commercial local radio stations. It has been a long process, but now we have finally succeeded", the Minister of Culture, Marita Ulvskog said, according to a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

She added that the new order will mean better conditions for a development towards pluralism, with a local basis for the activity of local commercial radio.

The new rules come into force from July 1, 2001. They state that an increased proportion of locally produced material must be carried in the transmissions, at least three hours per day, and that the question of ownership is to be taken into account when issuing permissions.

The permissions are given for a four year period, but may be prolonged for another four years. The concession fee per permission is SEK 40.000, to be paid annually throughout the concession period.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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23 May 2001: Increased EU support for measures to combat advertising intended for children

"The meeting has exceeded my expectations enormously". According to a press release from the Swedish EU Presidency this was how the meeting's chairman, Minister for Culture Marita Ulvskog, summed up the three-day informal meeting of ministers in Falun (May 20 – 22).

"Advertising directed at children is now a clear item on the agenda when the Commission revises the TV directive", says Ms. Ulvskog.

Before the meeting she expressed the view that "We do not believe we can save the world by banning television commercials aimed at children". The EU television directive ‘Television without frontiers’ contains regulations on TV commercials aimed at children. Sweden is at present the only EU country with a total ban on commercials intended for children.

Read more about the meeting in Falun.

Source: The website of the Swedish EU Presidency

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