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Finland – (E1) Media ownership concentration national level

Score in short:

The national media market is relatively concentrated with a handful of companies dividing the market in each sector.

Score in detail:

Finland does not have any specific regulation of media ownership concentration, aside from general competition rules. The dominant position of the biggest media company, Sanoma Group, in particular, is a distinctive feature of the Finnish media market. The net revenue of the Sanoma corporation in 2008 was 3,030 million, while the total market volume of all mass media in Finland was 4,424 million. Much of the Sanoma Group’s revenue, however, comes from its operations abroad. In Finland, the Sanoma Group controls around one-third of both total newspaper circulation and magazine circulation. The group also owns the broadcasting company Nelonen Media, whose channels have around 15 % of the audience share, and the biggest publishing house in Finland(45 % market share). Its other activities include movie theaters, online services, press distribution, and learning solutions.

The position of Helsingin Sanomat as the only (de facto) national, quality newspaper is in practice dominant, with no real rivals. As a result of takeovers and mergers, the market share of the biggest newspaper houses has steadily grown since the 1990s (Finnish Mass Media 2010, p. 169). The consolidation of newspaper ownership into chains is also expected to continue at both national and Nordic levels. The most intense competition currently takes place between the two evening tabloids Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti.

The market shares of the top three companies (CR3) have been calculated on the basis of circulation (newspapers) or share of total viewing/listening (television and radio). As indicated in Table 4, the market share of the top three companies is relatively high in almost all sectors of the media, indicating a relatively concentrated market.

Table 4. Market share of top three companies in different media

Top three companies Market share
Television Yle, MTV3, Nelonen 90 %
Newspapers Sanoma, Alma Media, Keskisuomalainen 50 %
Radio Yle, Radio Nova, SBS-Iskelmä 71 %

Source: Finnish Mass Media 2009, The Finnish Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Table 5. Market share of top three outlets

Top three channels/papers Market share
Television TV1, MTV3, TV2 64 %
Newspapers Helsingin Sanomat, Aamulehti, Turun Sanomat 41 %
Radio Radio Suomi, Radio Nova, Yle1 57 %

The data on media ownership are transparent for the most part. Most of the large media companies are publicly traded. There is also a website, Medialinnakkeet4, thatprovidesdetailed information on changes in ownership, economy and employment issues in the media sector. Major changes in ownership are also reported in the media.