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First quarterly edition 2003
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  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 Per Unckel
Postboks 1726 Vika                                  Nordic Council of Ministers,
0121 Oslo, Norge                                      Store Strandstræde 18
Tel. + 47 22 36 46 45                                 DK-1255 København K., Denmark

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



2 April 2003: Agreement on financial co-operation between the public service channels and Danish film producers

The Danish Film Institute acted as a go-between when the Danish public service channels DR-TV and TV2-Danmark - for the first time - signed an agreement on financial co-operation with the Association of Danish Film Producers. The agreement is an integral part of the new Media agreement of the Danish government.

The agreement describes how to spend "(the) statutory $8.6 million each station must annually allocate for domestic film production", the newsletter of Nordic Film & TV Fund reports.

"The deal comprises a set of rules for the 8-10 features that the broadcasters are every year obliged to participate in. The TV stations’ average stake in the films is approximately 20% of the production costs.

'We are pleased with the agreement, because we now know where we stand once and for all, instead of having to negotiate all new film projects individually,' said chairman of the producers’ association, Kim Magnusson, of M & M Productions", according to the newsletter.

Source: Nordic Film & TV Fund

17 March 2003 : Children and the Internet

"Danish parents are less worried and more positive about the way their children use the Internet than parents in other Nordic countries, according to the first study by the EU's SAFT project; 'Safety and Awareness For Tweens'. The Danish partner working on the project is the Media Council for Children and Young People, which co-operates with the Danish IT Industry Association. The study is the largest ever in the Nordic countries of parental attitudes to Internet usage", reports the news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers.

"Danish parents are in favour of fewer rules and less control. They are uncomfortable with filters and think the way forward lies in teaching and guidance for parents and children, said Karsten Gynther, chairperson of the Media Council for Children and Young People.

According to the study, Danish children are significantly less likely to use the Internet for schoolwork than children in the other Nordic countries, preferring to use it to surf and play games. While parents in the other Nordic countries worry most about porn websites, Danish parents worry most about the amount of time their children spend on-line.

A major study of Internet usage by children and young people will be presented in the spring. The results of the parental study will be compared with an extensive survey of children currently being conducted in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland".

Source: The news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers.

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2 April 2003: YLE result in line with financial strategy

"YLE Group's consolidated turnover last year came to EUR 374.5 million, i.e., 1.7% lower than in the previous year. EUR 9.9 million of the decline is due to the halving of operating licence fees in July. The amount of tv-licence fees paid increased", YLE states in a press release.

Further, the press release states that "(the) operating loss in 2002 came to EUR 62 million, which was EUR 46.6 million less than in the previous year (EUR -108 million in 2001). The result was in accordance with the long-term financial strategy confirmed by the company's Administrative Council.

The strategy includes rendering the operation more efficient, new channeling of available resources, and the use of revenue from the sale of Digita Oy's shares for the initial funding of new services. Financial management requires the company's financial position to be kept under control. According to the financial strategy approved by the Administrative Council, the company's result should be balanced by 2008.

'Last year, YLE's programme operation was successful, and the company's operating loss was marginally lower than budgeted. This puts it in a good position to implement its public service task also in the years to come, in line with the resources allocated in the financial strategy', observes Director General Arne Wessberg.

The Group's costs for the period totalled EUR 445.5 million, a decline compared to the previous year of EUR 57.3 million", according to the press release.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that "(There) has been a sharp decline in satisfaction with the service Finnish television viewers and radio listeners get in return for the mandatory annual television fee (formerly the television licence fee), which is the main source of revenue for Finland's public service broadcaster, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, or YLE.

In 2000 68% of those surveyed felt that YLE television and radio programmes offered them at least a fairly good value for their money. Last year the satisfaction rate had fallen to just 55%.

Correspondingly 40% feel that they get a fairly poor or very poor return for their money.

'We certainly have to think about this, but we cannot draw conclusions on the basis of these figures alone', says YLE CEO Arne Wessberg. 'No other measurements suggest that there would be any problems in the relationship we have with our audience'"

Source: YLE Press Room/Helsingin Sanomat

19 February 2003: New Finnish Communications Legislation

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications states in a press release that in the autumn of 2000, a comprehensive reform of communications legislation was started in Finland. The reform has since been developed through a number of stages.

"The need to reform the legislation arouse from the general convergence trend. The purpose of the reform is to ensure that telecom operators and other companies in the communications market can operate in a modern legislative environment that takes the technological development in the market into account.

The comprehensive reform was carried out in two stages. In the first stage (in 2000-2001), the most urgent and necessary amendments were made to the Telecommunications Market Act (396/1997) then in force. Those amendments paved the way for some innovations. The most significant amendment concerned the technology-neutral approach to networks; uniform legislative provisions apply to television and radio networks as well as conventional telecommunication networks. Television networks were opened to provision of information society services.

Among other things, the Act made it possible to divide the licences for terrestrial digital television network into network and programme licences. The first new network licences complying with the new Act were granted in autumn 2002. The purpose of the licence regulation was to support the launch of digital television in Finland. A better basis for television operations was created by halving the licence fee for analogue television channels and by withdrawing the fee from digital channels for the present licence period.

In the second stage of the comprehensive reform (in 2001-2002), a completely new legislative framework, a new Communications Market Act, was created. A government bill (112/2002) was submitted to Parliament in September 2002. It supports network business, television and radio operations and content production. The aim is to improve the legislative environment for competing businesses, development of communications technology and innovations. Furthermore, the bill implements four new Directives on electronic communications. Internet service providers are also included in the scope of the Act", according to the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications

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20 March 2003: New film law in Iceland

"On 1 January 2003, Icelandic parliament passed a new law regarding funding for film-making in Iceland. The objective of the new law is to further boost this growing sector, with its unique combination of industry and art, and to promote the general development of film culture here in Iceland", a press release from the Icelandic Film Centre states.

"The new law dissolves the Icelandic Film Fund in its old form and replaces it with two independent bodies: the Icelandic Film Centre and the National Film Archive. Laufey Gudjonsdottir has been appointed Director of the Icelandic Film Centre, and Thorarinn Gudnason has been appointed Managing Director of the National Film Archive.

As before, film policy falls under the responsibility of the Minister for Culture, but is now supported by an advisory committee of seven members, which advises the Ministry and makes recommendations on government policy and objectives in the field of cinema. The Minister appoints the advisory committee for a period of three years at a time. The chairman and vice-chairman are designated without nominations, but the remaining five members are appointed, following nominations from the following bodies: the Association of Film-makers, the Association of Icelandic Film Producers - SÍK, The Association of Icelandic Film Directors, the Association of Cinema Owners and the Federation of Icelandic Artists. Alternates are appointed in the same manner. No individual can be chairman for more than two consecutive terms, i.e. for more than six years.

The most important change the new law brings about, and the most pertinent to film-makers in Iceland, is the dissolution of the former Icelandic Film Fund, which is being replaced by the Icelandic Film Centre", according to the press release.

Source: The Icelandic Film Centre

19 March 2003: Icelander’s interest in watching television on the rise

Every Icelander on the average watched television for two hours and 41 minutes - every day - during 2002, according to a Gallup survey.

In comparison with the Gallup figures from 1998, the latest survey shows an increase of almost 40 minutes in the average time spent in front of the television set. In addition to the increased consumption of television programs, there is a substantial increase in video- and DVD-rental figures.

The varied Icelandic cultural offerings in the capital area are also much sought after by the Icelanders,who obviously want to spend more and more of their time on leisure activities. Every week there are 20 theatre performances to choose between, and a number of new cinemas have been started lately.

Source: The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

10 March 2003: Tele Island starts digital distribution of television programs

Tele Island Broadband has started digital distribution of television programs, utilizing the company’s broadband net. At the same time the traditional methods of distributing television signals are still supported.

Tele Island initialized the preparations for the distribution of digital TV last year, and the test results have been promising. To start with, there will be approximately 40 television channels in three subscription offerings, supplied with more than 20 foreign radio channels, specializing in different styles of music.

Among the technical novelties are an electronic program guide and a weather channel, showing the actual weather situation and forecasts in a number of locations around Iceland.

Source: The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

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9 April 2003: A record breaking first quarter for Norwegian films

"It took Norwegian cinema the first quarter of 2003 to exceed all last year’s attendance to local films, controlling a market share of 20.5% in February against 2.3% in 2002", the newsletter of Nordic Film and TV Fund reports.

"Kick-started by two productions from Nordisk Film & TV, Norwegian cinema has made a significant comeback on home turf, where it exceeded all last year’s attendance – 831,000 admissions – after the first three months of 2003.

Local films lost almost half of its audience, dropping to a 7.8% market share in 2002,

'The Norwegians seem to have regained confidence in their own films, not only the cinema-goers, but also the critics,'" said managing director of the Norwegian Film Fund, Stein Slyngstad.

Source: Nordic Film & TV Fund

28 February 2003: New concession for commercial national radio channel

The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs has invited applicants to compete for a new concession; the establishment of a commercial national radio channel in the FM frequencies. The Ministry’s intention is that the successful applicant is to start transmissions as early as 1 January, 2004. The concession is given for a period of ten years.

The Minister of Culture and Church Affairs, Ms. Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, says in a press release that the Ministry wants to strengthen the Norwegian public service broadcasting offerings. The public service principles shall apply for the programming of the new channel. The Minister underlines that the channel must produce its own news programs and overall develop a cultural profile reflecting the diversity of both Norwegian and global cultural activities.

The coverage of the channel has to be at last 60 per cent of the population, covering all the Norwegian counties.

Applications must be in the Ministry no later than 30 April, 2003. The Ministry will decide which applicant to be given the concession before the start of the summer holidays.

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

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21 March 2003: Digital television networks will replace the analog networks by 2007

In a proposition to the parliament the Ministry of Culture states that at least eight digital television channels must have a national coverage, according to a press release from the Ministry.

The digital networks will be developed continuously, while gradually replacing the analog transmissions, which will come to an end no later than 1 October, 2007.

The digital transmission of television programs was introduced on a regular basis in Sweden in 1999. Today they reach approximately 90 per cent of the population. The development of two new networks will increase the coverage to 98 per cent.

A commission is to be given the responsibility of planning and coordinating the information to be given to the public about the development. It is important that the commission co-operates closely with the authorities, the television companies, distributors and consumer electronics companies, as well as organizations that take care of the interests of consumers, the Ministry states.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

3 March 2003: Rise in the number of cinema visits for 2002

“The cinema and film statistics for the 2002 calendar year are now complete”, according to a press release from the Swedish Film Institute.

"During the year there were 18.3 million cinema visits, an increase of 1% compared to 2001 and a rise for the fifth year in succession. Revenue also increased by 4% in 2002, a rise for the seventh year in succession.

The reason for this higher percentage compared to visits is that ticket prices rose on average by 3% over the year, largely due to increased ticket prices for popular features such as the Lord of the Rings films.

After several years of exceptional figures, Swedish films had a more modest year in terms of market share (16.8%) of the total number of visits. The corresponding figure in the previous three years was in excess of 20%", the press release states.

Source: The Swedish Film Institute

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14 April 2003: Nordisk Film settles down in Sweden

"Nordisk Film, which is based in Denmark, is to start producing films in Sweden under the management of Hans Peter Lundh. Three or four films are planned per annum. The producer will be Lars G. Lindström, most recently of Backstage at Stockholms Stadsteater", according to the news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers.

"The company will produce everything from childrens’ films to action movies and cartoons. The low-budget "director’s cut" concept will be imported from Denmark, i.e. investing in new young talent. The first release in Sweden will be "The Black Hole" by Daniel Espinosa who has just graduated from the Danish Film School. The manuscript is by Clara Sjöberg. The Swedish company Feliciafilm, fronted by Anne Ingvar, will also work along with Nordisk Film Production AB".

Source: The news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers

10 January 2003: Multicultural Norden

"Multicultural Norden (the multicultural Nordic countries) is one of the priorities for Sweden, which holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2003, according to its culture and media working paper", the news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers reports.

"Integration is one of the crucial issues for the future, according to the paper, which also states that cultural life must 'be characterised by diversity and breadth and reflect the composition of the population in modern Nordic society.'

Other priorities include:
- the Nordic language community and minority languages
- closer co-operation between museums to make the Nordic cultural heritage more accessible.
- to improve public services, the ministers of culture form the Nordic countries and the new member countries will be invited to a meeting about the EU’s TV Directive.
- greater emphasis on design and architecture in Nordic cultural co-operation.
- closer cultural co-operation with the Adjacent Areas.
- a study into whether the Nordic Film Prize should be awarded annually."

Source: The news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers

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