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Increase foreign ownership take over Swedish Television market

Friday, 30 September 2011
There is a growing new trend taking place in the Swedish television sector in which the foreign money and owners are growing in the sector. They are buying more Swedish television production in an increasing rapid rate.

The latest addition in the market, Red Arrow, is reported to be owned by Dutch giant Endemol which shoe how the industry has evolved from being predominantly Swedish or Nordic owners, to a market where  in recent years, has been taken over by non-Nordic players, according to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. 

The paper reports that in a study carried out by Goteborg University, in Sweden,  and which a recent report was presented by the Nordicom research, on media and communication issues, the production side of television programs has never seen such a growth though there are always new companies all the time, and in many cases, the old ones are quickly being bought up by foreign owners.


“Only in the last few years a lot has happened. The trends we see is that both have become narrower in the TV production market in that new companies have come. First, the already established players are being acquired by foreign companies,” says the report's author Staffan Sundin, a professor of media and communication studies.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is the newly acquired Shine Group the largest foreign owner in Sweden. They own Metronome, which in turn owns Meter Television, one of the country's leading production company with productions such as "Stars on Ice," "Idol" and "Luxury trap" in his repertoire.

“In general, it is about international large shareholders focused on the commercial market and program production,” says Staffan Sundin.

Among the newest is the Dutch production company Snowman, owned by German ProSiebenSat, and Red Arrow, owned by Endemol, world’s sixth largest with 80 production companies in 31 countries.

“All of our competitors have international ownership and it is a clear trend. Mainly, for  business reasons, the multi giants may have formatted and finished programs to capitalize on in several countries,” says Anders Knave, President of the wholly Swedish OTW, owned by Forma Publishing Group, which in turn is owned by private equity company Hakon Invest.

OTW produces, among other things "Summer with Ernst", "Tina’s summer kitchen" and racetrack on the Swedish television, station, TV4.

Researcher, Staffan Sundin, does not believe that the increased foreign ownership has any effect on the TV viewers notice. The advantage of a large corporation is that they have program that one know would works. But there is a downside.

According to Anders Knave, the threat in the long run is that creativity is being sacrificed at home, there will be stoppage of development of ideas for small producers who do not have enough muscle to contend with the Giants. “For a company like ours, it becomes difficult to break into the TV schedules.

Leading Foreign investors in Swedish television sector

Shine Group was purchased last spring by Murdoch's News Corporation group. It has offices worldwide and under his wing are production companies that together produce 3,000 hours of television programs per year.
In the Nordic countries it will take in Metronome Film & Television (purchased 2009), whose best-known companies are Metres Television. Meter makes programs for both public service and commercial television, including "Home at last" and "Big Brother". Revenue in Sweden in 2010 was some Skr 300 million.

De Agostini, Italian group with operations in 66 countries. It owns Zodiak Media, which consists of 45 production companies in 17 countries.  Zodiak in turn owns Swedish production companies Mastiff and Jarowski with programs like "Inception", "Parliament" and "Room Service". Revenues in Sweden 2010 was Skr244 million.

Eyeworks, Dutch media giant, new to the Scandinavian market with the production company Eyeworks Scandinavia. Moreover, it has operations in 17 countries and one of the top five television producers out there. The Scandinavian section has, among other things, produced detective series about detective Maria Wern, with Eva Rose in the lead role. Revenues in Sweden in 2010 was some Skr218 million.

ITV British, tradition - rich TV Company, bought three years ago, Swedish production company Silverback, which today changed its name to ITV Studios Nordic and has produced programs such as "Half-eight with me," "Four Weddings" and "Hell's Kitchen". Revenues in Sweden 2010 was about Skr85 million.

Other major foreign investors in Sweden are: IMG, Bertelsmann, Banijay, Endemol and ProSiebenSat.

Source: Dagens Nyheter

Diversity perspective might not be met and it is not good that the rights disappear from Sweden.”

He is still positive about the future though:
”Just five years ago we only sold software to TV channels. Today through the online video approach one may sell television ideas in several places.” The future will be from this point of view more choice to the consumers who, can choose when and how he or she wants to watch TV. The threat in the future lies more with the traditional TV channels.

The domestic TV producers are also growing in number. Neither TV 4  or Channel 5 have previously had  their own production company, but now they have started their own business.  TV4 is shifting to the Scandinavian Studios which channel 5 will start Snowman.

The trend towards the foreign media ownership today, really began six years ago. The Great Northern Media Group changed the strategy, discontinued its ancillary activities, and fixed his eyes on the core areas. For example, retired Norwegian, Schibsted Group, which owns the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, backed from the television market to expand in the daily press. This was followed by the Swedish powerful families, Bonnier and Stenbeck which also changed their strategy before the non-Nordic owners took the first increased concentration of ownership in the Nordic media market.
By Scancomark.se Team

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