Privatisation of TV2 would be harmful to media, warns Socialdemokrakiet – The Post

Privatisation of TV2 would be harmful to media, warns Socialdemokrakiet

Danish values of democracy and diversity at stake, claims party leader Mette Frederiksen

Throw in a barbie and maybe Murdoch will be interested (photo: Leif Jørgensen)
August 14th, 2017 12:55 pm| by Ben Hamilton

TV2 is a peculiar channel. Although it’s commercial – it runs adverts and subscribers have paid a small fee to view it since January 2012 – it is still publicly owned and receives state support, primarily for its local news output, which is far more wide-reaching than state broadcaster DR.

And as a member of the European Broadcasting Union – only one of two commercial channel members across the entire continent – it can still pick up the rights to major sports events such as the European Championship football tournament at a heavily discounted price.

Of the 4.4 billion kroner the state spends every year on its public service, DR get around 3.6 billion and TV2 0.5 billion.

Privatisation looming for TV2
But now all that might change, as the government parties are believed to be in favour of completely privatising it under the terms of the next media deal, for which negotiations are due to start soon.

Socialdemokrakiet head Mette Frederiksen is opposed to the idea because she fears the channel could end up in foreign ownership, and that this could lead to a slippery slope of fake news and pursuing the lowest common denominator.

Democracy and diversity at stake
“When we look around the world, even in western democracies, the media can often play a different tune to the one we are used to in our open democracy,” she told Metroxpress.

“You could end up with a foreign buyer who neither wants democracy nor diversity.”

Frederiksen is concerned that most of the debate has so far concerned DR – namely reducing its funding or even scrapping the licence fee altogether – and that this could distract attention away from TV2, which is, after all, “Denmark’s favourite TV channel”.

READ MORE: Danish state broadcaster increasingly coming under financial pressure






History of TV2

– TV2 began broadcasting in 1988. Until 2004 it was funded by a combination of licensing fees and advertising income

– From 2004-12, attempts to run the channel solely via advertising revenues proved unsustainable, even when combined with the income generated by the company’s pay channels like TV2 Sport, TV2 Zulu and TV2 Charlie

– In January 2012, all of Denmark’s major TV companies – satellite, cable and IPTV – took the decision to pass the 12.5 kroner per month subscription onto their customers, which ensured 90 percent of the country continued to have it

– However, many international households choose not to take TV2 because of its primarily Danish-language content and their preference for streaming services. It irks many, therefore, that TV2 continues to enjoy the privileges of being a member of the EBU – the only other pay-TV member is French channel Canal +

– The EBU’s statutes do not directly prohibit pay-TV broadcasters from being a member, and as long as TV2 continue to fulfill certain public service remits, it will remain a member

Although it is argued that the main channel does not receive any state funding, the EU is currently investigating whether a recent bailout of TV2 at the taxpayer’s expense along with the funding of TV2’s regional channels constitutes illegal state aid