Two of the largest Finnish media companies have a virtual monopoly on the news in Finnish apart from the public service provider, The Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE . The rest of the media are all small fry and struggle to stay alive.
The two companies AlmaMedia and Sanoma Group have a few very wealthy families as shareholders together with the three big pension funds – all of whom have formed comfortable working relationships over the years through their respective boards and informal networks..
These media companies also exercise controlling power over their lobby association called the Finnish Media Federation. This lobby organisation has been firing shots across the bows of YLE by making complaints to the EU about state aid by the Finnish government that leads to unfair competition that is detrimental to consumers and illegal according to EU laws and regulations.
The latest volley is that program streaming, “á la Neflix”, by YLE should be stopped because the service is somehow in contravention of their remit. Their arguments appear to be circular – if the remit of YLE is not explicitly saying that a service is allowed, then such a service is not allowed to be provided!
One of these Finnish media companies, the Sanoma Group, would love to limit the rest of the market, private and public, out of the competition. They rely heavily on American fast-food films and series, and ridiculous media formats like Temptation Island, Deal, Paradise Hotel and Big Brother… in their opinion YLE should be stopped from streaming their normal TV programs as well as prevented from publishing material on their internet site without reference to their TV broadcasts.
Their whining complaints have been met with dismay since public service companies around the world, including Europe, all have established streaming services!
“Weakening the beloved and respected Yle Areena online service would have a serious impact – not only onto Finnish media users, but also onto domestic cultural content. Nor does it strengthen media companies operating in national markets, but increases the dominance of large international platforms. Tying Yle Areena’s operations to the broadcasting of linear broadcasts would mean a long-term erosion of the entire public service,” said Merja Ylä-Anttila, YLE’s CEO.
FinnishNews could not agree more with the above statement from YLE’s CEO.
The lobbying of these private companies are focused on trying to dominate the national media markets by making outrageous claims about state aid, and by claiming that they have the right to make politics in this country by over-riding the will of the people as exercised in Parliament. Going to the EU with such complaints is cowardice in the extreme.