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Finland – (E2) Media ownership concentration regional (local) level

Score in short:

Apart from newspapers, the leading news media in Finland are nationally oriented. There are no significant regional or local television channels.

Score in detail:

Regionally, there are 28 regional newspapers with practically no competition in their own market areas. Most of the local newspapers, around 150 altogether, also have a relatively stable position in their areas with no major rivals. Many of the regional newspapers also are owned by one of the national chains. Despite the high number of newspapers published per capita, the market for regional media is therefore relatively concentrated.

The only competition these regional newspapers face is against the nationwide newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and other national news outlets. Statistics on the circulation of newspapers by regions are not currently available, but based on the total circulation of newspapers published within a given region some CR3 calculations can be made.

Table 6. Newspaper concentration in some regional marketplaces

RegionTop three newspapersRegional market share
Finland ProperTurun Sanomat, Salon Seudun Sanomat, Auranmaan vikkolehti70 %
KainuuKainuun Sanomat, Ylä-Kainuu, Kuhmolainen81 %
UusimaaHelsingin Sanomat, Ilta-Sanomat, Iltalehti65 %

Source: The Finnish Audit Bureau of Circulations, Finnish Newspapers Association.

Television channels in Finland are almost exclusively national, so regional concentration does not apply. YLE has regional news broadcasts for eight areas on their national channels TV2, and news in Sámi on FST5 5. Commercially operated regional or local television channels are few, small-scale, and limited to some cities only (e.g., cable-operated Turku TV; local Swedish-language När-TV in rural Närpes region).

In radio, YLE has 20 Finnish-language, five Swedish-language, and one Sámilanguage regional channels with designated windows on the frequencies of YLE Radio Suomi and YLE Radio Vega. In addition to public service channels, there is one national, nine near-national, and 44 local or regional commercial radio channels (Finnish Mass Media 2010, p. 93). In larger markets, such as the Helsinki region, there is competition between ten or more local commercial radio channels, but more remote areas are served only by YLE and a few mainstream commercial channels. A handful of non-profit, public access radio channels (Lähiradio, Radio Robin Hood) operate in some cities with limited resources.

The field of local radio stations has also seen considerable centralization in recent years. The ownership of regional and local radio has consolidated into national networks or chains, such as the german SBS Broadcasting, which has diminished the proportion of genuinely local programming. The number of Internet radio channels has proliferated, but they do not yet hold a major share of total listening. Regional audience shares are currently available only for the Helsinki region, which also has the broadest supply of radio channels. The audience share of the top three radio stations in the Helsinki region is 47 %, somewhat below the national market share (57 %) of the top three radio channels (Finnpanel 2010b).