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Liberal turn in media policy: the case of Finland's digital television

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According to the influential typology by Daniel Hallin and Paolo Mancini, Finland's media system follows the democratic corporatist model, rather than the polarized plural or the liberal model. The article analyses digitalization of television in Finland and, in particular, its licensing policy as an example of convergence of national media systems towards the liberal model. Using original media policy documents and recent research on programme structures, the analysis reveals that, with multiplied channel capacity, increasing consumer choice became an end in itself in the Finnish media policy since the mid-1990s. As this is associated with licensing an ever-growing number of commercially targeted and formatted channels competing for popularity among mainstream market segments, the shift from the earlier public service protectionism to an increased market role indicates a change in Finland's media policy paradigm. Instead of providing more alternatives in terms of content, digitalization in Finland only gave viewers greater quantity and, in effect, accelerated a dramatic marketization of broadcasting.
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Keywords: Finland; digital television; marketization; media policy paradigms; programme diversity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Tampere.

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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