Heft 269

Marko Ala-Fossi, Taisto Hujanen:

The Rise and Fall of Public Service Media Fee Proposal in Finland,

Cologne, in August 2010, ISBN 978-3-938933-75-6

28 p., Price 8,00 €


The first part of this article is based on HUJANEN (2010) published in Central European Journal of Communication (Vol 3, No 1, Spring 2010); the latter part is based on Ala-Fossi’s presentation given at the conference “The Future of the Broadcasting License Fee in Times of Media Convergence”, Bonn, Germany, May 7, 2010. The authors work at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Tampere, Finland.

The paper describes the background and history of funding for public service broadcasting (PSB) in Finland as well as the recent discussion on alternatives to the television fee, especially the public debate on the public service media fee proposal made in 2009. It discusses the ‘sectorisation’ of the broadcasting market and policy after the so-called big channel reform and the consequent special Act on YLE, the public service broadcaster, in 1993. Since the late 1990’s digitalisation of terrestrial television has steered strategic development of broadcasting in Finland. Due to technological convergence the identity of public service broadcasting is changing to that of public service media. These transformations together with the decreasing number of valid television licenses were behind the proposal about a public service “media fee” as the source of future funding for YLE. Finally, the paper seeks to identify and analyse the main reasons for the failure of the public service media fee proposal. Despite the clear need for a reform and a preliminary political agreement on it, the Parliament was unable to reach a solution and decisions have now been postponed after the next general elections in 2011.

Table of Contents:

1. Abstract
2. Funding for PSB in Finland – A Short History
3. A Parliamentary Agreement on Public Service Media Fee – With Mixed Reception
4. The Media Fee Proposal Turns into a Political Bone of Contention
5. Discussion and Conclusions