svane.jpg - 8028 Bytes Nordic Media News

Second edition 1995

(Nordic Media from 1999)

    Main page - English version | Archive: Nordic Media News | Site map  

Denmark   |   Finland   |   Iceland   |   Norway   |   Sweden

  Welcome to Nordic Media News

The editions of Nordic Media News, Nordic Media from 1999 onwards, are available on the net. The newsletter is a summary of the contents of Medier i Norden: Resymé (Scandinavian languages news bulletin).

Nordic Media News 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 News ISSN 1396-934X electronic edition.



Program concessions from the Satellite and Cable Board 

The Satellite and Cable Board makes the final administrative decisions concerning program concessions for broadcasting via satellite or cable which goes beyond a local area. The Board has granted eight program concessions. Only four of these are in current use.

1) CIAC A/S. (The DK4 channel). The concession is for cable based TV broadcasting, granted 13 October 1994. The programming covers politics, social issues and the environment - entertainment and culture - education - business related programs - debates. The DK4 channel started transmitting in December 1994.

2) Danish Satellite TV. Concession for satellite based TV programmes. Granted 13 December 1994. The programmes are mostly of pornographic nature. The channel started transmitting 24 February 1995.

3) Z-TV. Concession for satellite based TV programmes. Granted 6 March 1995. The programming will contain the following mix: One third of the programmes will be music related, with particular emphasis on music videos. One third of the programmes will be fact oriented, including debates, fashion, trends and culture.

The last third will be fictional in the form of series, movies and shows. The transmissions started in March 1995.

4) Voice of Scandinavia. The concession was granted 24 October 1994 for satellite based radio. The programmes are mostly music targeted at a young audience. The transmissions have started.

5) MultiChoice A/S. The concession was granted 28 June 1994 for cable based TV programmes. The programming will consist mainly of movies and series.

6) G.O. Marketing Aps. The concession was granted on 24 October 1994 for satellite based TV programs. The programming is stated as mainly pornographic.

7) The company Pay Per View in Denmark. The concession was granted 24 October 1994 for cable based TV programs. The programming will consist of mainly films, series and other forms of entertainment, sport events, video games, educational and cultural programmes.

8) The company Pay Per View in Denmark. The concession was granted 6 December 1994 for cable based TV programs. The programming is stated as interactive video games.

Since a concession will be withdrawn if it has not been used for one year, this overview of current concessions can only be regarded as a snapshot of the present situation.


The annual report from the Radio and TV Commercial Board 

In Denmark, the final administrative decisions concerning radio and TV commercials are made by the Radio and TV Commercial Board. The Board also handles issues concerning the factual contents of commercials. In addition, the Board also advises the Minister of Culture on the contents of radio and TV commercials. The Board annual report for 1994 was issued in April.

According to the annual report, the Board has handled 26 issues concerning the contents of commercials: 22 of them were commercial shown in the country-wide TV 2, two were commercials shown on local TV, and two were broadcast on local radio.

In eight of the 22 issues concerning TV 2, the Board found that the commercials violated current rules. In four of the issues, the Board requested that future commercials should not contain similar material.

In the four issues concerning local radio and TV, the Board found that in all cases, the current rules for advertising had been violated.

The annual report points out that the private complaints were more numerous than in previous years: The percentage was 63 in 1994, compared to a percentage of 33 in 1994. In 1994, there were no competitor complaints, whereas there were 10 such among a total of 21 in 1993.

Two of the issues which were under consideration in 1994 were given significant publicity. One of them was a commercial series of 78 spots for a supermarket chain, and the other a series of three spots for a certain car. In both series, children below the age of 14 participated. The issues were raised by the Board on its own initiative following informal requests. The Board found that the commercials were made in a way which obviously violated paragraph 23, section 1 in the Regulations for commercials and sponsoring in radio and TV. According to this paragraph, children below the age of 14 may only take part in commercials when they either are a natural part of the depicted environment or when they explain or demonstrate products that are related to children.

In the commercial spots for the supermarket chain, small children were shown playing shop in a regular kitchen. They exchanged words with a more or less indirect connection to the article which was in focus in the following picture sequence, which did not contain any children.

In the car commercial, several small children playing were with wooden toy cars. An adult male voice described the car model while this was shown. At the end of each commercial, one of the small toy cars was rolled into the middle of the screen. In the following picture sequence, which did not contain any children, the toy car was expanded into a real car of the brand and make which was advertised, while the audiences was encouraged to visit car dealerships during the weekend.

The Board found that the participation of the children was not needed to explain or demonstrate the use of the products. Likewise, the Board found that no claim could be made that their participation was a natural part of the environments depicted, which was found to be the sales or usage environments of the products. The implication is that it is OK to show children in sequences shot in stores, as long as this is done in a natural way, according to the rule stated in paragraph 23, section.

These rules also state that it is legal to show children using the products, at home or elsewhere. Shots of a fictitious buying situation (like playing shop), is definitely outside the rule, since it means that children are used for commercial purposes with no relation to the product in question.

The decision of the Radio and TV Commercial Board in these two matters attracted a certain amount of publicity, and the Minister of Culture asked the Board to express whether there was a need to change the current rules concerning the participation of children in commercials.

In the statement from the Board, the majority fraction expressed a need for a liberalisation of radio and TV commercial rules in order for them - while staying within the rules of the Marketing law - to be co-ordinated as closely as possible with current EU rules. According to the minority fraction, it would be better to exercise a more rigid control of the rules even foreign TV stations are supposed to follow, rather than weakening the Danish rules for TV commercials.

Furthermore, according to the annual report, the Board has also raised the issue of hidden commercials in local radio and TV with the Minster of Culture.

Consequently, the question will be discussed at a meeting between the boards for Local Radio and TV and Radio and TV Commercial.

Finally, the Board states that the development concerning radio and TV commercials is basically satisfactory, and that the number of complaints is very low compared to the number of commercials which are broadcast. In TV 2, 2.761 different commercials were sent, and only 22 complaints were made. Of those, eight were considered to be in violation of rules.


Go to Contents



Leisure in figures 

Leisure and Cultural Participation in Finland in 1981 and in 1991, Statistics Finland, June 1995.

Statistics Finland has issued a study based on face-to-face interviews with several thousand respondents, offering a broad overview of leisure activities and cultural interests of Finnish people today

Among the particular concerns of this survey are the relationship between work and off-work time, the consumption of mass media, theatre-going and other cultural activities, reading, listening to music, creative hobbies, participation in organisations and societies, and sports and physical exercise.

The survey provides an interesting point of comparison for the results of the corresponding studies carried out by Statistics Finland in 1981 and 1977. The key results of the 1981 and 1991 leisure surveys are presented in the form of tables. The results of the 1991 leisure survey have been published previously in English in the report by Mirja Liikanen and Hannu Pääönen (ed.): Culture of the everyday leisure and the Cultural Participation in 1981 and 1991. Culture and the Media 1994:3. Questions can be directed to Mirja Liikanen and Hannu P\'8a\'8akkönen, Statistics Finland, tel. +358 0 17341.

TF/Statistics Finland

Go to Contents



Illegal to obtain access to encoded transmissions 

The Minister of Culture and Education, Mr. Björn Bjarnason has submitted legislation to the Parliament which will make it illegal to produce and use decoders to be used to gain access to encoded transmissions without paying the required fees.

When the legislation has been approved by the Parliament, it will be illegal to use decoders for such purposes. The contents of the suggestion is based on the suggestions made by the commission for furthering of broadcasting. This commission was established by the former Minister of Culture and Education, Mr. Olafur G. Einarsson in 1992 with the mandate to revise the legislation concerning furthering of broadcasting. The suggestions made by the commission were partly based on Swedish legislation in this field.

The Stöð 2 TV station, which is run by the Icelandic Radio Company (Islenska utvarpsfelagið hf.), is the first company to broadcast encoded transmissions.

According to the company, they have lost significant income due to the fact that many people have been able to enjoy the programmes without paying fees.

Currently, about 40.000 households subscribe to TV2, but the company estimates that as many as 5.000-6.000 households receive programs without paying for them.

According to this estimate, the station may have a yearly loss of up to ISK 170 million.


Re about media use 

The Institute of Social Studies has carried out a study concerning media use during one week at the beginning of March. Among the results, 94% of those who responded said that at one specific time they had chosen the public service TV channel (RUV), while 83% had selected TV2 at a different point in time. There was a substantial difference in how many watched the most popular RUV programme compared to the most popular TV2 programme: The figures were 49% and 26% respectively.

About 63% of those who responded said that they had tuned into RUV's programme 2, and 56% into programme 1 from RUV. 63% of those who responded had at some time listened to Bylgjan, which is transmitted by the Icelandic Radio Company.

The study also covered the reading of newspapers. Morgunblaðið was read daily by 59-64% of those who responded, while 40-50% of those who responded said they read the newspaper DV.


Go to Contents



Upgrading and reorganisation of public service broadcasting in Norway 

The Government has in two recent white papers suggested a reorganisation of the public service broadcaster in Norway, NRK (Norsk rikskringkasting).

The main background for the suggestions is that NRK needs a form of organisation which makes the company sufficiently able to act in order to meet the challenges of the current media situation with an increasing amount of competition and the challenges and possibilities that the technological development offers.

During the last few years, a number of new, commercial TV channels targeting the Norwegian market have been established. The consequences include increased competition, which reduces the number of NRK viewers, and also a considerable hike in prices of popular programmes. Experiences from Norway and abroad show that commercial general broadcasting does not supply the same width and quality in programming compared to public service channels finance by license fees. The suggestions will probably be treated by the Parliament during the autumn of 1995.

NRK to become a limited company
The Government suggests that NRK is changed from a foundation to a limited company. According to the suggestion, NRK is to be organised as a governmentally owned limited company regulated by legislation for such companies and with certain changes made to the broadcasting legislation. One condition is that the Government shall own all the shares in the company. The ownership control will take place at the annual general meeting, where the Department of Culture will represent all the shares.

NRK will continue to be a commercial free and license fee based alternative to the commercial channels. The duty to maintain a public broadcasting profile will be written into the legislation as the statement of purpose for the limited company.

NRK was reorganised from a governmental company to a foundation in 1988, when the institution enjoyed a de facto monopoly situation. The Government believes that the current organisational form of NRK and the restrictions of such a framework does not give NRK the necessary freedom of movement in the current competitive media situation.

The Parliament currently handles all NRK questions considered to be of general or media political significance. It takes at least half a year, and frequently longer, from NRK makes a proposal to when the Parliament has made a decision on an issue.

The change to a limited company will mean improved freedom of movement for NRK: The political power of decision is moved from the Parliament to the annual general meeting, which for practical purposes means the Ministry of Culture.

In order to maintain and further develop local production, and in order to secure attractive programmes for the viewers, NRK needs income in addition to the expected license fees. After a reorganisation into a limited company, NRK will enjoy increased economical freedom. Among other things, a new area of business will be established to make better use of company resources in the form of programmes, technical equipment and competence. Income from such activities will make NRK better able to provide attractive programming .

NRK2 - a new Norwegian TV channel
The Government suggests that NRK should establish a new TV channel, NRK2. The channel should also be run according to general public broadcasting principles, and the programmes should supplement and form an alternative to the current channel, without any licence fee increase.


New conditions for local broadcasting 

The establishment of too many local broadcasting companies has made it difficult for the business to be profitable.

In June 1995, the Parliament handled a White Paper on local broadcasting. Many of the departmental suggestions to strengthen and stabilise local broadcasting in Norway were approved. The changes may also lead to further development and strengthening of local media environments and may lead to improved economical conditions for local broadcasting:

An opening is made for extending concession areas where this is suitable. Experience shows that local TV based mainly on local programs is not commercially viable. The period of concession will remai n at five years for local radio and seven years for local TV. New concessions will not be granted during the period of concession.

The Government is politically obligated by a parliamentary majority to enforce the monopoly of TV 2 for nation-wide earth based transmissions. The Department maintains the ban that the Parliament has put on concurrent and unchanged retransmittal of commercial satellite channels. Several local TV stations are currently breaking this ban by retransmitting TVNorge programs.


Go to Contents



Digital radio to start this autumn? 

It certainly looks like transmission of digital radio will start in Sweden this autumn. The interest is considerable both at Swedish Radio and private, commercial radio companies. And when digital programmes are transmitted digital receivers will be on the market as well.

By the end of May, the Parliament accepted the governmental suggestion that digital radio transmission should start during the autumn of 1995. At first, transmissions should be made in a few limited areas, both in urban and rural areas. The activity should be evaluated continuously, and the aim is to present a first report by 1998.

Both public service companies like Swedish Radio and Swedish Educational Radio and private radio companies will be allowed to participate in the broadcasts. A decision on which programme companies who will be allowed to participate will be made by the Government, according to recommendations from the Radio and TV Board.

If there is not room for all who will want to participate, the selection should be made so that the total offering contains different types of programmes. Some minor changes have been made in radio legislation, which, for example, allow commercials in the transmissions from private companies.

A great number of radio companies voiced their interest when the Radio and TV Board evaluated the interest for participating in digital transmissions.


Demands for public broadcasting cut-backs finalised 

The Parliament approved the governmental suggestions to cut resources for Swedish Television, Swedish Radio and Swedish Educational Radio by 11% to the year 1998. The Parliament also accepted a reorganisation for Swedish Television which means that the district production no longer needs to be transmitted in one channel only. On the other hand, the TV leadership plans for merging the news staffs in order to save money was turned down.

The parliamentary decision is the result of the balance of power in the Parliament. The Government received support for the cut-backs from the Conservative party. The same party did not approve of changes in the organisation. The Conservative party wishes to turn one of the channels into a commercial company, and this would become more difficult if the two channels were no longer separate institutions.

Finally, the Environmental party agreed with the Government that the current connection between regional production and TV2 should be ended. The decision also means a significant effort in new technology. The profit from the radio account, which has been estimated to be about SEK 400 million up to and including 1998, will be used to help public service companies use new digital technology.


Still unrest inside Swedish Radio 

The director of Swedish Radio, Mr. Ove Joanson, has been the best opponent to the demanded cuts in funding. When the decision had been made by the Parliament, the director suggested a significant reduction of central staffs, that news transmissions from TT (newsagency owned by the newspapers) should cease and that no regional programs except local sport should be sent on weekends.

Apart from these specific cuts, which would mean a reduction of SEK 105 million, general cuts were suggested for the programming to save another SEK 99 million. For P1 and P2, a reduction of 9% was suggested, with 13% for P3, 10% for regional programs and 15% for P4 Riks. The symphony orchestra and the radio choir will still exist.

The suggestions have been criticised internally. Not surprisingly, the channel directors feel that their own activity was cut too drastically. The Board decided to give the channel directors the task of making suggestions for changes in their respective channels. The final decision will be made on 31 August. The plans to terminate the TT co-operation has also led to protests, from the former Minister of Culture, Ms. Birgit Friggebo, among others.


Go to Contents