• Pernille Dencker Hansen
4. term, History, Master (Master Programme)
Since 1951 the Danish Broadcasting Corperation (Danmarks Radio - DR) has monopolized tv-broadcasting. DR is a so-called public service station, which primarily means that the institution has connections to state administration, which is conveyed by way of the Danish TV and radio legislation, through which resources, together with certain obligations, are at the disposal of the station and its broadcasting. In 1988 the broadcasting monopoly of DR came to an end, when TV2 went on air. TV2, too, was given the status of a public service station. This meant that after 1988 Denmark housed two public owned service stations, which were to compete for about the viewers. This violation of monopoly is the basis of this thesis. The thesis sheds light on two problems: What is behind the concept of public service and how did the notion develop throughout the period from 1980 up until 1994 and how did the two public service stations develop within the same period of time? This development will be concretized by way of a case study in which broadcastings connected to the general election of 1987 are compared to election programming of 1994. The notion public service broadcasting developed from a technical-financial concept, in which it was demanded that the broadcastings were to be generally accessible to the citizens in return of a fixed price, and that the programming was in a sufficiently good quality for everyone for it to be of service to society. Here programming politics and the role that these broadcasting systems could play in society came into focus. With the establishment of the first Danish ministry of culture in 1961 DR was given a role in connection with the development of the Danish welfare state. The scale of programmes was to contribute to the refinement of the cultural knowledge and general education of the citizens, which was meant to make them ‘better citizens’ and by it secure a continuous development of society. The audience was seen as a homogenous whole and thus programmes targeted at certain groups were not introduced. The angle of DR when it came to programme policies was that a minority (elitist) was to determine what was proper and right to air to the vast, ignorant majority (the masses). The goals of society what concerns broadcasting was the cause for concern at the time, rather than the programmes themselves. When, in 1988, TV2 was started, the general opinion concerning broadcasting had changed, as it is no longer merely seen as a cultural political notion, but is now also understood from an industrial political angle. From the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, there is a growing dissatisfaction with the programme politics of DR, which partly is due to the fact that the institution’s role as a cultural political tool, in connection with the introduction of the welfare state, has come to an end, as the welfare state has become embedded in society. The idea of public service also changes, since now the medial is to serve the individual interest of the citizens and that the audience is no longer to be considered one homogenous group of citizens. Now the programming is in focus. Quite quickly, TV2 becomes the most popular TV network in Denmark, but this does not mean that the station was more flexible than was DR, because TV2 started out based on an competitive environment, whereas DR had to adapt to the new situation while playing its role in society as well. To this it must be added that what concerns management DR is far more connected to the political powers than is TV2. Despite the fact that they each shared the same obligations and that they are both called public service stations, there was also an attitude that indicated that DR was to be more public service minded than TV2. This was caused, partly by the long history of DR and the special circumstances that that involves, and partly the partially commercial financing of TV2 that makes the network more dependant on high ratings. The research within the field of public service after the 1980s is very much concerned with how these ‘new’ types of media are to compete. The most crucial attitude here is to see the programming of the entire media system as public service. This would mean that that all programming (both traditional public service channels as well as commercial ones) was to fulfil the duties of public service. This approach, however, did not find support with neither the networks themselves, nor the politicians. With the establishment of TV2 clearly follows a development of the news media, since TV2 chooses a different style and approach to its news programming. The competition between the two channels also leads to changes with the news presentations at DR. Still, it cannot be determined whether these changes would not have taken place without the establishment of TV2, but the new station as well as the competition must have made clear to DR that a change in news presentation had become necessary. When TV2 was initiated there was a clear political objective that TV2 would include an increased, and thus better political debate. Measured from a perspective of time DR published more on the election in 1994 than it did in 1987, and when the programmes of TV2 are added to that, the quantity of debate increases. The question is then, whether more debate is also good debate. At first sight the approaches of the two networks to the programmes on the elections are very similar apart from certain structural changes.
Publication date2007
Publishing institutionHistoriestudiet, Aalborg Universitet
ID: 8148029