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Sanoma asks EU to limit Yle Areena content

The commercial media company was also involved in a complaint that could limit Yle's rights to publish written content.

Sanomahuset i Helsingfors
Sanoma is headquartered in central Helsinki. The company complained to the EU in an effort to limit Yle's online streaming offering. Image: Yle
Egan Richardson

Finland's largest commercial media company Sanoma has asked the EU's competition authorities to clarify Yle's right to publish content on the Yle Areena streaming platform, as well as the company's ability to publish educational content.

This follows a previous complaint by Medialiitto, lobbyist for privately-owned media companies, that sought to limit Yle's right to publish written content online.

That led to a move to change the Yle law which is currently going through parliament.

Sanoma says its aim is to clarify Yle's compliance with EU competition rules.

"According to the regulations, public service media tasks should be clearly defined and regulated by an appropriate body," said Sanoma communications chief Hanna Johde.

Yle's position is that the complaint as drafted threatens Yle's ability to offer the same service that Finland has come to expect.

One aspect is that Yle should limit the time content is available, so that it is removed from Areena at a certain point after it was broadcast on linear television or radio.

"Weakening the beloved and respected Yle Areena online service would have a serious impact – not only onto Finnish media users, but also onto domestic cultural content. Nor does it strengthen media companies operating in national markets, but increases the dominance of large international platforms. Tying Yle Areena's operations to the broadcasting of linear broadcasts would mean a long-term erosion of the entire public service," said Merja Ylä-Anttila, Yle's CEO.

The chair of Yle's supervisory board Arto Satonen (NCP) defended Yle Areena and Yle's educational services, saying in a press release that the current form taken by Yle Areena was compliant with the law and part of Yle's duties.

It can take the EU competition regulator years to form a view and hand down a ruling.

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