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ftm Radio Page - week ending March 31, 2017

Regulator proposes more licenses, broadcaster objects
competition, diversity, ad sales

A plan to reorganize FM distribution in Sweden has drawn the ire of commercial radio operators. Sweden’s Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), responsible for radio frequency utilization among other jobs, proposed increasing available FM frequencies to promote competition and diversity. The proposed rule-making, officially introduced to the Swedish parliament in mid-March, also crafts a plan to increase national commercial radio sales networks from two to three, allow more shared content and limit geographic overlap.

“The government has been careless and come up with a proposal without considering the impact,” said Bauer Media Sweden/Finland chief executive Staffan Rosell, quoted by radionytt.se (March 31). The chief complaint is, of course, money: stagnant radio advertising revenues divided three ways instead of two. Bauer Media is bringing in an outside consultant to assess the situation. (See more about media in Sweden here)

“If we look around us,” he continued, “we note that in countries similar to Sweden there is no example of three companies conducting radio profitably.” Since commercial radio was introduced to Sweden in 1993, ownership has consolidated with sales networks consolidating into two: Bauer Media and Modern Times Group (MTG). Norway’s national commercial radio has also consolidated, more or less, around Bauer Media and MTG. In Finland Bauer Media shares radio ad revenues, more or less, with Nelonen Media, subsidiary of media house Sanoma. Bauer Media is essentially uncontested in Denmark.

All privately-owned FM radio stations in Sweden are licensed as private, local radio. The proposed rule change could take place when all private,local radio licenses are up for renewal in mid-2018.

 


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