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The times are a?changing…How France, Germany and Sweden introduced private,

cable and satellite TV – a comparison over the past

10 years.1. INTRODUCTIONWhy we have chosen this subject?

Before starting to write about TV in Sweden, Germany and France, we

wanted to compare French,German and Swedish media. But on account of

the wideness of this analysis, we decided to focus on the evolution

of TV broadcasting during these last 10 years.

The technical revolution which has appeared in this area since 1980

is necessary to be understood to be able to follow and forecast what

will happen in the future when multinational companies can take a

look on pan-european broadcasting. In this paper we try to make the

point on this changes. Furthermore as we came from different

countries and live now in an other one, we found it interesting to

compare the three countries (France, Germany and Sweden) TV-

broadcasting system.

While we were searching for datas, we discovered the gap that exists

in cable-covering between France and the two other countries. What

are the main reasons of this delay? Are they political, financial or

cultural? We will try to answer these questions in our paper. But we

will first define the different technical terms that we

are going to focus on. Then we will developp the birth of private

channels, their regulations, laws and financing in the different

countries.2. BASICSIn our paper you will find the following technical terms:? terrestrial broadcasting: this is the basic technology used to

broadcast radio and TV. It?s the use of radio-frequencies that can

be received by a simple antenna. The problem by using terrestrial

broadcasting is, that you only have a few (up to max. 7) possible

frequencies and that you need to have expensive transmitters every

100-150 kms to cover an area.

Programms which are broadcasted terrestrical are e.g.: Swedish TV 1,

2 and 4; German ARD, ZDF, 3. Programme and some private channels in

urban areas; French TF 1, France 2 and France 3.

? cable TV: the reason why you have only a few frequencies by

using terrestrial broadcasting is that terestrial broadcasting is

influenced by physical phenomens (bandwith) whereas broadcasting in

a cable is shielded/protected from outside influences. So you can

have more channels on the same bandwith-space. For example: a cable

might carry 7 programmes catched with an antenna from terrestrical

transmitters and additional 25 satellite channels (maximum 30-35

different channels in one cable). Instead of connecting to an

antenna cable-households connect their TV-sets to the cable-network.

? satellite broadcasting: a satellite is a transmitter that is

positioned on a course in space 40.000 kms far from earth. The

advantage of this technology is to cover a wide area with only one

transmitter. Modern direct broadcasting satellites (DBS, e.g. Astra)

can be received by small (? 30cm) and cheap (? 2.000:- SKR)

"satellite-dishes". To connect a TV-set to the "dish" you also need

a device that converts the received satellite-signals to signals

that can be used by a standard TV-set.

In the beginning (80s) this technology needed huge and expensive

dishes and was only used to transmit signals to cable-networks.

Newer technology is often cheaper than connecting a house to a

cable-network. In east-Germany the German PTT (Telekom) is competing

with their cable-network against the cheap satellite-dishes.

The most tranceiver-signals on DBS-Astra are booked by British (NBC-

Super, MTV…) and German (RTL, SAT-1…) broadcasters. Satellites

can also be used for telephone-connections, TV- or radio-



The first broadcasting tests happenned in the late 30?s like in

Germany. It is only in 1945, after the second world war, that The

Ordinance formalized the state monopoly of broadcasting which was

assigned to Radiodiffusion de France. The Radiodiffusion de France

has then included television in 1959 and became RTF (Radiodiffusion-

Television de France). Established as a public company accountable

to the Ministery of Information, RTF became an "Office" (ORTF) still

supervised by the government. The events that happened in France in

May 1968, have then helped the government to liberalize the medium.

The government of information was therefore abolished and in 1974,

an Act divided the ORTF in seven different public companies which

formed the public broadcasting service : TF1, Antenne 2, FR3, Radio

France, TDF, SFP, INA.

Private channels emerge in France with Canal Plus the crypted-paying

channel in 1984. This terrestical channel is owned by Havas. Canal

Plus has to broadcast a daily clear program lasting from 45 minutes

to 6 hours, the average is 3 hours and a half per day. In 1985 sees

the birth of two new private channels France 5 and TV6 which were

forbidden to broadcast the year after. Finally in 1987, they have

refound the right to broadcast under the respective name La Cinq and

M6. At this time, it already existed five public channels : TF1

(which is since 1987 privatized), A2 (rebaptised France 2 a

generalist broadcasting television), FR3 (today called France 3, a

national and regional TV), TV 5 Europe (European channel launched in

1983, transmits programmes broadcast in French-speaking countries by

satellite) and RFO (transmits radio and TV programmes to French

overseas territories and possessions). In may 1992, ARTE-La Sept,

the Franco-German channel has started to broadcast on the French and

German cable-net. Then when the private French channel, La Cinq,

stopped broadcasting, ARTE was allowed to broadcast from 19h to 1h

in the morning on this available frequence. The 13th of december

1994, has appeared a new public channel "La Cinquieme" also called

"channel of knowledge" (la cha”ne du savoir) which is broadcasting

on the same frequence as ARTE until 19h.To summarise, today the French TV-broadcasters are :public: France 2

private :

France 3



TF 1

La Cinquieme Canal+



TV 5


Cable channels were launched in France in 1984, 2% of the households

were cabled. This initiative came from Minister Mauroy who presented

cable as "a massive, consistent and orderly solution to satisfy

multiple communication needs". In fact this cable plan met

opposition of several parties. This was representing to high costs,

and the state organization (DGT) assigned of the overall control

control of the implementation of the new technology antagonized the

manufacturers of cable equipment who proved unable to produce what

was required within the agreed price and time. In 1986, the cable

plan was definitevly abandonned. Around 10 private companies are now

responsible for promoting the cable, for instance la compagnie

gžnžrale de videocommunication, la Lyonnaise Communication,

Eurocable …

It exists 25 local channels, 13 French channels are broadcasted,

cable now reaches 25,3% of French households and the fee vary from

115:SKR to 400:SKR on account of the number of channels you wish


It costs a lot of money for the company to share the cable in France

as it requires the use of an expensive material such as the optical

microfiber. Because of this cost, the cable net is now set for

collectivity instead of individuals. Furthermore this installation

can only be achieved on the will of the county otherwise the

autorisation can not be received by the cable company. the

commercial board of the cable society has to convince these


France ownes two direct-diffusing satellites : TDF 1 and TDF 2, and

one telecommunication one : TELECOM 2A. Most of the programmes

diffused through satellite are in fact the one you can get thanks to


The C.S.A. (Conseil Supžrieur de l? Audiovisuel) is the authority

responsible in France for broadcasting?s regulations. It is composed

of 9 designed members :

- three chosen by the President of Republique

- three chosen by the President of Senat

- three other by the President of National Assembly

This institution is really politicised as we can see.

It insures respect of pluralist expression of ideas, of French

language and culture, of free competition, of quality and diversity

of programs … It also regulates the frequences gestion. It can

interfer as well in the public as in the private sector. It gives

the autorisations of exploitation of cable networks, satellite and

terrestrial Television, M6 and Canal Plus for instance are allowed

to broadcast for 10 years, then tehy have to renegociate their

autorisation of broadcasting. Autorisations for CableTV last 20

years and can be allowed to companies or "regies" on local elected

people?s proposal. Furthermore French and foreign channels which

want to broadcast on cable net need to sign a convention with the

CSA. The implementation of the net is then under the Commune


The CSA makes also policy such as advertising to be respected. The

time of advertising per hours is 12 mns. TF1 for instance has

overpassed this allowance of 81 secondes and 94 secondes an other

time and was therefore obliged to pay 2. 800.000,00 Ffr

(4.000.000,00:SEK), which equals 16.000 Ffr per second


It also reuglates the political intervention on the public channel

and made the law of the three third to be regarded. This regulation

is that the channel in a political programm should respect 1/3 for

the government, 1/3 for majority and 1/3 for opposition.3.4 FINANCING4. TV-BROADCASTING IN GERMANY4.1 HISTORY

The first TV-experiments in Germany were made in the 1930s to

broadcast e.g. the Olympic Games. After World War II the harbinger

of the first German TV-station ARD began broadcasting under allied

control in 1949 in northern Germany and Northrhine-Westfalia under

the responsibility of the NWDR-Laenderanstalt. The ARD is a

broadcaster with only organizing functions for the "Laender"-based

production facilities (Laenderanstalten, e.g. NDR, WDR…). Every

part of the programm that is broadcasted under the label ARD is

produced under the responsibility of a state-based station. The

second german broadcaster ZDF is different from ARD. The ZDF

produces TV on its own but the station is indirectly controlled by a

conference of the states. There are also several regional "third"

channels bound to the culture of one or more states which are only

broadcastet within the states and are produced by the


Private TV-programmes were introduced in 1984. You will find more

about the introduction on the following page. There were 15 Germany-

based TV-broadcasters in 1994.To summarise, today the Germany-based TV-broadcasters are :public: ARD

private (general




Arte (with F)

Sat 1

3-Sat (with AU + CH)


DW-TV (foreign service)

private (special interest):

private (pay TV):

Kabel 1






n-tvDefinitions on the next page!4.2 CABLE/SATELLITE TV

The German PTT developed as one of the first PTT?s in Europe

standards in cabling private households. But in the late 70?s the

social democrats (SPD) blocked the PTT because the Bonn government

was afraid that cable technology would lead into private TV. After

the changing the government in 1982 the new conservative government

(CDU) and the minister for post and telecommunication Schwarz-

Schilling invested in the new cable-technology.

The first private TV-broadcasters (SAT-1 and RTLplus) got their

license for a cable-trial-project in Ludwigshafen in 1984. After

starting the Ludwigshafen project (estimated for 3 years duration)

the countries with conservative majority allowed the PTT to

broadcast the trial-programmes from the trial-projects in their

regular cable-networks. This was the beginning of private TV in

Germany and a trial-project became regular-service within a few

months… . After a decision from the highest court in 1986

commercial TV was legal. The social democrats (SPD) changed their

politics against private TV in the late 80?s and gave licenses to a

few of the most important private broadcasters in states with a SPD

majority. Now Koeln (Cologne) in the state of Northrhine-Westfalia

(SPD) is one of the most important places for German media (RTL,

Viva-TV, Vox) among the traditional "media-capitols" Hamburg and


After unification in 1990 the PTT Telekom invested in cable Networks

in the former GDR. But 1994 only 14 percent of all east-German

households were connected to a cablenetwork and even terrestrical

broadcasting still has not reached the "western" standard. For

eastern Germany satelite-TV is very important. For this reason the

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF decided in 1992 to broadcast

via the ASTRA-Sat to reach the eastern population. In 1993 the PTT

signed a contract with the Luxemburg based ASTRA-Enterprises to

become a associate member of this commercial organization. Since

1995 the Telekom is a private company and there are plans to provide

technology for digital and pay-TV in the future.

17 % of all east-German households and 11% of all west-German hh

have a satellite-dish (1993). More than 90% of the german-sat-dishes

are focused on the Astra-Sat. Connected to a cablenetwork are 48%

(west) and 14% (east) of all households.

In some urban areas free terrestrial frequencies are licensed to a

few private channels (RTL, Sat 1, Pro 7).

Local TV is very new in Germany, the first License was given by the

states Berlin and Brandenburg to "1A-Brandenburg" in 1993 for the

towns Potsdam and Berlin. There are also some projects in state

financed open channels in several cable networks.4.3 LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Among the three countries we compare, Germany is the only country

running a "federal system". Media in general are underlying rules

and laws by the decentralized several state-governments within the

Federal Republic of Germany. Also the public broadcasters are ruled

by the several states (Laender) and the private channels get their

Licenses from the states.

The reason for the decentralized broadcasting system in Germany is

the German "Grundgesetz", the Basic Law that guarantees the

"cultural sovereinty" of the staates. This Basic Law protects the

media from possible political interests a central (Bonn or Berlin

based) government might have.

Even the fees for the public-broadcasters are fixed by decissions

from a conference of the federal states. The only exception now is

the Deutsche Welle (DW-TV), a broadcaster for foreign countries

which is used as a "ambassador" for german culture and is under

special government-regulation.

In the 80s all German states drafted private-media laws. Now every

state has the legal possibility to give licenses to commercial TV-

stations. The supervisory body for Licenses in each state is called

"Landesmedienanstalt". Because of the decentralised German system

all laws and regulations concerning commercial broadcasters are

connected to the "cultural sovereinty" of the states. To avoid that

a private broadcaster has to license his programm in every of the 16

German states all states signed a contract (Staatsvertrag). This

contract guarantees e.g. that each state will accept the license

given by a Landesmedienanstalt in a single German state. In this

contract are also fixed regulations about ownership, content of

programmes and the possibility for each "Landesmediananstalt" to

accuse decisions made in an other state.

Each Landesmedienanstalt is also responsible for the decission which

programmes are allowed to be broadcasted in the PTT-cable-network in

their state (normally: 1. stations licenced within the state, 2.

stations licenced in other states, 3. foreign stations).

Another important assignment of the Landesmedienanstalt is to watch

the german media-ownership-regulations. There are special quotations

in ownership which have to be controlled. The strongest regulation

is that no one is allowed to hold more than 50% on an broadcaster.

An other important mechanism is the declaration of a channel, there

are declarations as "special interest" (only one topic, e.g. sport,

movies), "general interest" (with information/news) and "pay TV".

The most important german media-investors are Bertelsmann (RTL,

Premiere) and the Kirch-Group (Sat 1, Kabel 1, Pro 7). Both groups

are accused to violate the ownership and monopoly-law that will be

renewed within this year.

Because of the relative liberal-license-law in 1994 more than 10 new

entrepeneurs anounced to apply for a german TV-license (e.g.

Disney).5. SWEDEN5.1 HISTORY

Unlike Germany and France where they started with experimental TV-

broadcasting in the late 30?s Sweden launched its first channel in

1956. But like in France and Germany the state had a monopoly on

broadcasting. The first Swedish channel was Channel 1 the second

channel (TV 2) was launched in 1969. Since 1987 the two public

television channels have been organized in such a way that TV 1 is

based on programme production in Stockholm and and TV 2 on

production in ten TV districts in the provinces.

The first two private Swedish channels where introduced in Sweden in

1987 by satellite and cable. TV 3 and Filmnet-pay TV are swedish

owned but were not allowed and licensed to send on terrestrial

frequencies so they transmit via satellite and cable. In 1989 the

third satellite broadcaster the Nordic Channel was launched and two

more pay-TV channels, TV 1000 and SF-Succž where introduced to the

market. TV 1000 and Succž merged two years later. The first private

channel licensed to transmitt terrestrial within Sweden was TV 4 in

1991.To summarise, today the Swedish TV-broadcasters are :public: TV 1

private :

TV 3

TV 2

TV 4

TV 5

Nordic (pay-tv)

TV 1000 (pay-tv)5.2 CABLE AND SAT

The construction of cable networks begann in 1984. This share was

supposed to bring 3 000 employments perr year for 7 years and was a

mean to protect telephone monopoly. Now Sweden is among the

european countries with the most cable subscribers (B, NL, CH). Up

to 50% of all households in sweden have acces to the cable and 7%

own a satellite-dish

Like in France the cable-networks gave a chance for local stations.

Advertising is not allowed for these local stations so they have a

lack of money and often broadcast only a few hours a day. Local-TV

is provided in circa 30 towns and can be seen by 16% of all Swedes


Satellite installation was given birth in the middle of the 1970?s

through an agreement among the five Nordic countries to launch

NORDSAT. This satellite would inforce the cooperation between these

countries and also helpes to promote nordic culture. In fact this

project died and a Tele-X was launched by Sweden and Norway, then

Finland joined the project. Nowadays 60 % of the Swedish households

have access to the satellite channels.5.3 LAWS AND REGULATIONS

-cable transmission legislation 1992

In Sweden, the Radio Act and the Enabling Agreement between the

braodcasting companies and the State are leading broadcasting

policies The State exercise no control over the programms prior to

broadcasting. However a Broadcasting council is empowered to raise

objections to specific programms.

The Cable Law

-The two Swedish public channels are financed by a license fee.

6. CONCLUSIONIn the times of public-tv the few possible frequencies for

terrestrical-broadcasting where used by the very few public channels

in each country. These channels were under control of the state and

not connected to financiel interests of owners or investors. With

the beginning of the 80s the invention of cable TV made broadcasting

from up to 30 channels possible. Our governments had to face the

demand for TV-licenses and also had to invest in cable-

infrastructure. In the late 80s new direct broadcasting satelites

gave the same number of channels to households in less developed


One thing we found out and can face now as a major fact is that

there is no cable-infrastructure in France and only a few commercial

channels (compared to the 57 million inhibitants). The market seems

to be influenced by the default of the state to provide cable

access. For some reasons we can?t evaluate from sweden in a few

weeks how the "sleeping beauty" France managed not to develop a


But we can compare the facts for all three countries and conclude:

-dual system in all 3 countries (public and private tv since mid


-tv is important in all countries 97% (see chart)

-pay tv is introduced in all countries7. QUESTIONS TO THE CLASS-maybe there is no demand for cable in France?-will the public channels survive?-we only evaluated quantity and historical information and facts-

what about quality?

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