21 October 2002: The future of Danish terrestrial digital television to be decided
Danish terrestrial digital television is about to become a reality according to volume 10/2002 of the newsletter issued by the Ministry of Culture.
The Minister of Culture, Mr. Brian Mikkelsen, has presented his initiative to make a terrestrial digital platform available to the public. The initiative will be circulated for public comment.
In the first half of 2003 the terrestrial digital platform will be put up to auction. The current intiative includes a scheme to offer the whole television platform for auction at once. Thus, a future operator of the platform may offer more channels, interactive opportunities via the Internet, sale via the television set and as a whole; greater choice.
Further particulars will be announced when the Minister of Culture has determined the general lines for the auction, the newsletter states.
Source: The Ministry of Culture
15 October 2002: Soaring admission figures for national films in Denmark
The admission figures for the first nine months of 2002 were exceptionally good, according to a press release from the Danish Film Institute. Nine million tickets were sold, of which 2.3 million were sold to people who wanted to see Danish films; a very high percentage of the market.
2002 might end up as the best year for Danish cinemas since 1983, according to the Film Institute. Last year was also a good one at the box office. In comparison to the admission figures for 2002, the annual average for the 1990’s was ten million.
If you want to see a overview of the current admission figures for national films screened in Denmark, please go to the site provided by the Danish Film institute. The films have been released in 2001 and 2002. The figures are provided by distributors and Statistics Denmark. This overview is updated regularly.
Source: The Danish Film Institute
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10 October 2002: YLE is most diverse, according to report
Last year, almost sixty per cent of the programmes on Finland's four national television channels were domestic productions. YLE operates two of the channels and the range offered by both of YLE's channels was more diverse than that of the commercial channels, according to YLE Press Room.
The data are taken from the report "Finnish television output 2001" commissioned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
In the report, YLE TV1 is characterised as the most information-oriented channel. YLE TV2's output includes an even mix of both informative and entertainment programmes. Traditional factual and cultural programmes, domestic children's programmes and also educational programmes were shown almost exclusively by YLE.
There were no major changes in the programme range as a whole between 1997 and 2001. Launched in August 2001, the digital channels YLE24, YLE Teema, FST-D, Subtv and the Sports Channel generally offered similar programmes to the analogue channels.
Source: YLE Press Room
14 September 2002: Second stage of communications legislation reform
A new step has been taken in the reform of communications legislation. The second stage of the legislative reform and the proposed Communications Market Act will implement new European Community Directives on electronic communications, reinforce communications administration, and accelerate processes resolving disputes.
The reform also takes the requirements of the new Constitution into consideration. The proposed new Act will promote e-commerce, television and radio operations and content production. It will also lay a better groundwork for the development of communication services, according to a press release from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The Government reached a decision on the content of the second stage of the Communications Market Act on 5 September 2002. The President of the Republic submitted the proposal to Parliament on 13 September 2002.
According to the legislative proposal, obligations imposed on telecommunication operators would mainly concern those with significant market power. Reasons for obligations would be provided in the Act. The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority would define the relevant communications market and make decisions on obligations imposed on telecommunication operators.
In accordance with the proposal, operators with significant market power would be obliged to relinquish access rights to mobile subscription capacity or some other equivalent smart card (for example SIM card) capacity. The free capacity of a smart card could be used to provide various content services such as electronic signatures.
Users of telecommunication services are proposed to have a right to certain universal services such as a subscription in a public telephone network. A user would be entitled to retain his or her telephone number also when changing his or her mobile communications operator. This amendment is expected to increase competition in mobile communications.
Telecommunications operators providing network services in a cable television network would have to transfer without charge only the programmes of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Ltd YLE including ancillary and supplementary services related to these programmes. The transfer obligation would also apply to commercial actors’ national channels and related services. However, for their transfer a telecommunications operator could charge no more than the cost-oriented price. Nevertheless, programmes of commercial, freely receivable channels would have to be transferred free of charge until the end of the present operating licence period.
Two annual reports would be presented about the operations of the Finnish Broadcasting Company for the purposes of appraising the universal service duties. The Administrative Council of the Finnish Broadcasting Company would have to submit a report on the contents of the company’s operations to Parliament. In addition, the company should give a report on the legality of the public service to Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, which in turn, would issue its own statement to Government.
The proposed amendments are meant to enter into force on 25 July 2003. The proposal comprises the second stage of the comprehensive reform of communications legislation. The first-stage proposals entered into force on 1 July 2002.
Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications
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10 October 2002: Dramatic increase in use of daily newspaper Morgunblaðið's website
The Icelanders are enthusiastic Internet users, according to most statistics. Daily News from Iceland reports that the number of users reading Morgunblaðið’s web site (mbl.is) has increased dramatically in a short amount of time. Over nine million hits was registered during September 2002.
"These figures set an all time record for web activity here in Iceland. Official figures and data have been recorded here in Iceland since April of 2001.
According to recent surveys, the all-purpose, Icelandic web site, Leit.is, came in second with 3.5 million hits during September", writes Daily News from Iceland.
Source: Daily News from Iceland
18 September 2002: Iceland’s box-office record beaten by Hafið (The Sea)
Hafið (The Sea), directed by Baltasar Kormákur set a new box office record for Icelandic films; more than 8.000 tickets were sold on its first screening weekend (Friday 13 - Sunday 15 September).
The Icelandic Film Fund states that the equivalent to a weekend in the U.S. would be eight million tickets sold, when taking per capita in the two countries into consideration.
"Welcomed by critics as well, it topped the Icelandic list placing xXx with van Diesel in second. No previous Icelandic film has enjoyed such wide international cinema release sales as The Sea, already having been sold to 19 regions, with more copies in each region than other Icelandic films hitherto", reports the Icelandic Film Fund.
Source: The Icelandic Film Fund
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22 October 2002: The Media Directory - comprehensive data base on the Internet
The newly opened Media Directory is a data base containing information about Norwegian media and their owners, according to the Media Ownership Authority.
"The Media Directory includes more than 220 newspapers, 220 radio stations, 30 television stations and 1500 media owners. The purpose of the service is to promote greater transparency, awareness and knowledge about who owns what in Norwegian media. The Media Directory permits you to organise data according to type of medium, owner and percentage of ownership, circulation and geographic location.
The Media Directory collects the information directly from the media companies. The Authority closely monitors acquisitions in the media market, and changes in ownership will be updated successively. The Authority can not, however, guarantee that all the information is correct at every time.
In the case of newspaper circulation, the Media Ownership Authority will, as a point of departure, use the figures supplied by the Norwegian Newspapers' Associations", the Media Ownership Authority states.
Go to the Media Directory.
Source: The Media Ownership Authority
18 october 2002: Restructuring in daily newspaper Aftenposten
The cost reduction program announced in 2001 in Aftenposten is running according to schedule, states a press release from its owner, the media company Schibsted.
"However, the revenues so far in 2002 has declined more than expected and it is necessary for the company to adjust to a lower level of revenues for the years to come to ensure profitable operation. Further restructuring was therefore announced in connection with Schibsted's presentation of first half of 2002. The ongoing restructuring work implies major structural changes in productivity and/or the organisation.
The conclusions from the restructuring work carried through this fall will be on the agenda at the Board meeting in Aftenposten on December 5th 2002.
At this point in time the following summary of the work in Aftenposten can be made:
* It is not unlikely that the number of man-years in Aftenposten will be reduced considerably. This is necessary to ensure efficient and profitable operation.
* The preliminary budget for 2003, excluding effects from the restructuring work, does not provide sufficient profitability. It is yet to early to say which effects the restructuring work will entail. In addition to the focus on reduction of the cost level in Aftenposten the company actively seeks a way to ensure a positive development in the circulation as well as new sources of revenues going forward.
* During 2001 the advertising revenues in Aftenposten declined with NOK 140 million and as of September one has experienced a corresponding decline in percentage in 2002. There is a high degree of uncertainty linked to next year but the drop is expected to come to a halt during 2003, and the advertising revenues for the year is expected to be somewhat lower than for 2002".
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15 October 2002: Europe’s first circuit of digital cinemas opened
"Folkets Hus och Parker opens Europe’s first circuit of digital cinemas with seven screens at smaller venues, to add another 15 within the next two years", writes Nordic News (the Nordic Film & Television Fund). The circuit is called Digital House.
Nordic News states that 11 October Digital House launched Swedish director Peter Schildt’s feature debut, Suxxess, simultaneously with the general release by Egmont Columbia TriStar Films in the country’s major cities.
"Over the last three weeks Sweden’s Folkets Hus och Parker has opened seven digital theatres at smaller venues, planning to add another 15 within the next two years, as a pilot project supported by the EU. The total investment will reach $4.8 million.
The new screens will initially be fed by mini hard disks mailed by the distributors, but according to culture chief Gunno Sandahl, of Folkets Hus och Parker, they are also equipped with connections to DVD, satellite and broadband.
‘The digital cinemas are all 200-300 seaters situated in villages, where they will typically show films three times a week. But with the new technology we can supply with direct transmissions of – among others - concerts and sports.
We have also negotiated with Sweden’s video distributors, who are interested in getting an – although small - theatrical window for films which would otherwise go straight to video only. We can screen them from the DVD,’" Sandahl concluded in Nordic News.
Source: Nordic News
8 October 2002: More money to Swedish film production
The Swedish film industry will receive an extra SEK 25 million annually during a two year period, according to the state budget for 2003, put forward by the Government.
All in all, the grants from the state channelled through the current film agreement will amount to SEK 225 million per year. In addition to this, the Goverment proposes to put another SEK 30 million into the film agreement. This means that the agreement for the remainder of the period will be strengthened by a total of SEK 80 million, according to the press release from the Ministry of Culture.
"The step taken by the Government, to secure an additional 80 million earmarked for Swedish film production is welcome, and necessary", Mr. Rasmus Ramstad, the managing director of Svensk Filmindustri, says to Svenska Dagbladet.
"The production would have come to a standstill without the extra grants. Strange as it may seem, the cause of the near crisis in Swedish film production is the success of Swedish films during the past three years. A main ingredient of the film agreement is the progressive grants given to companies screening films which proves to be a success at the box office. The size of the grants has not been in accordance with the unexpected success story of Swedish films", Mr. Ramstad says to Svenska Dagbladet.
Source: The Ministry of Culture/Svenska Dagbladet
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29 October 2002: Aki Kaurismäki has been awarded the Nordic Council Filmprize
The movie “Mies vailla menneisyyttä” (The Man Without a Past) by is directed, written and produced by Aki Kaurismäki and is this years winner of the new Nordic Council Filmprize.
Kaurismäki’s film is an original, condensed tribute to human dignity and solidarity. It depicts the socially excluded, yet it brings to their environment notes of hope and faith in the future. It is marked by a style which is at once poetic, humorous and symbolic and by the simple, well defined forms of great art, it combines an entertaining tale with fundamental existential values without exaggerated pathos. The film combines an unmistakable Nordic character with a universal perspective.
Aki Kaurismäki received the prize of 350.000 DKK at the council’s 50th anniversary in Helsinki on Tuesday evening , 29 October.
Ten films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were nominated earlier this year for the Nordic Council’s Film Prize, which will be awarded for the first time during a televised ceremony at the council’s 50th anniversary in Helsinki’s Opera House on Tuesday, 29 October.
Read the press release.
Source: Nordic Council
23 October 2002: The first worldwide press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders
"Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom", the organization states in a press release.
"It also shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20 bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the four worst offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan.
The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press freedom. Costa and Benin are examples of how growth of a free press does not just depend on a country's material prosperity.
The index was drawn up by asking journalists, reers and legal experts to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations (such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and regulation of the media). The final list includes 139 countries. The others were not included in the absence of reliable information.
In the worst-ranked countries, press freedom is a dead letter and independent newspapers do not exist. The only voice heard is of media tightly controlled or monitored by the government. The very few independent journalists are constantly harassed, imprisoned or forced into exile by the authorities. The foreign media is banned or allowed in very small doses, always closely monitored.
Right at the top of the list four countries share first place - Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands. These northern European states scrupulously respect press freedom in their own countries but also speak up for it elsewhere, for example recently in Eritrea and Zimbabwe. The highest-scoring country outside Europe is Canada, which comes fifth".
The worldwide press freedom index.
Source: Reporters Without Borders
16 October 2002: When will digital publishing be a reality?
Digital publishing has perhaps not become the hot industry anticipated a few years ago. Europemedia.net/EJC Media News writes: "Almost 90 per cent of European newspaper publishers believe that digitally printed newspapers will be a commercial reality by 2010, according to a report by Digital Dots and Ifra, the international organisation for media publishing.
The survey of 50 European newspaper publishers found however that digital printing technology has a long way to go before it will threaten to overtake analogue technology. Nonetheless all project participants agreed that digital printing would be a reality for newspaper publishing. More interestingly the anticipated timescale for when this might happen ranged from now through to the year 2225.
This new report mirrors current developments in publishing, like PEPC Worldwide installing two newspaper kiosks at Camp Fox in Skopje, Macedonia, through which soldiers of Task Force Fox (TFF) can daily print the latest edition of their preferred newspaper in tabloid format through PEPC's satellite distribution network."
Source: Europemedia.net/EJC Media News
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