FINNISH UNIVERSITIES SUPPORT GREATER HELSINKI TV PROJECT

ALMA MEDIA CORPORATION PRESS RELEASE 20 January 1999 Free for publication: 14.00 1(2) FINNISH UNIVERSITIES SUPPORT GREATER HELSINKI TV PROJECT Helsinki’s universities and business community are well represented alongside mainstream media companies in greater Helsinki’s CityTV Helsinki project. CityTV Helsinki Oy, the company founded to manage the project, will submit a licence application for a new analogue TV station for greater Helsinki by 1 February 1999. The new channel will be designed for direct conversion to digital broadcasting in the future. The Helsinki universities hold altogether 11 % of the stock of the new company (Helsinki University of Technology 1 %, University of Helsinki 5 %, Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration Holding Oy 5 %). The other shareholders are Suomen Viestintärahoitus 5 %, Pellervo-Seura ry 5 %, ChumCity International Ltd in Canada 15 %, the Finnish Fair Corporation 19 % and MTV Oy 45 %. Population 1.2 million, market FIM 1.5 billion Regional and city television stations have gained a strong and permanent foothold in TV communications around the world. Greater Helsinki in Finland is a combined business and residential area with roughly 1.2 million inhabitants. Both residents and businesses have expressed a clear desire to obtain, receive and send information on an increasingly local "door-to-door" basis, also via television. In this market electronic communications are conspicuous by their absence today. A study commissioned by CityTV Helsinki Oy and conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy in 1997 revealed that 42 % of residents wanted a local TV channel, 55 % of major advertisers and 85 % of opinion-leaders were interested in using one, and 80 % of media company customers felt they could benefit from a new TV channel. The media market in greater Helsinki is estimated to be worth some FIM 1.5 billion annually and is highly concentrated. A local service channel CityTV’s mission is to meet the service needs of the residents, towns and organizations, cultural institutions and the business community in the greater Helsinki region. News and current affairs programmes will have a central role in the new channel’s offering. News will amount to about 10 hours a week, supplemented by more than five hours of live daily current affair programmes. Substantial time has also been reserved for programmes serving special interest groups and the company’s memorandum of association also contains provision for the region’s various universities to use the local TV channel for education and information. The channel will not compete with the national TV channels in sports coverage but will concentrate on junior sports and local events. Films will sourced from Europe. The channel’s entire programme portfolio will be outsourced from a domestic supplier. Transmissions from Espoo According to Mr Jaakko Paavela, Executive Vice President of MTV Oy, CityTV Helsinki will be ready to begin broadcasting within half a year of receiving its operating licence. The TV studios will be located in the city centre and transmissions will be broadcast from a single transmitter in Kivilahti, Espoo. Although it will start as an analogue channel, the project supports digital television, he stated. "When digital television is introduced the biggest problem will be a shortage of high-quality programmes. CityTV’s programmes can be automatically converted for digital broadcasting and they can also be readily expanded to cover other areas outside greater Helsinki," he said. The new local TV channel aims to achieve net sales of FIM 50 million in its first full year of operation and once the company comes up to speed annual net sales should approach FIM 100 million, Paavela stated. "We are eventually aiming for sales of a good 5 % of the media market in the region covered by the channel. That is less than one year’s growth for this market, so we are confident that the project has a solid financial foundation." The channel will have 20 - 30 employees. Most of the programmes will be commissioned from domestic suppliers. Universities involved from the outset According to Dr Kari Raivio, rector of the University of Helsinki which is representing the universities in the region, the University wishes to keep open the service opportunities offered by the TV channel. "This applies to student services, distance learning and contact with the business community and public at large in this region," he stated. The major problem with digital television, according to Raivio, will be a shortage of high-quality programmes. The universities wish to be involved from the outset in both production and planning of future programmes for the new local media. Further information: Mr Jaakko Paavela, Executive Vice President, MTV Oy, tel. +358-9-1500 313 Dr Kari Raivio, Rector, Helsinki University, tel. +358-9-1911
  • Date: 20.1.1999, 08:00
  • News type: Press release

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