The year 2018 was successful and important for Yle in many ways. According to our audiences, we were successful in carrying out our public service mission and their confidence in our operations continues to be high.
We ask our audiences to assess our operations every year. According to Yle’s Value to Finns survey, we have succeeded in meeting the expectations of our audiences and completed our mission well. Sixty-nine per cent of the respondents say their confidence in Yle is high or fairly high. Yle is deemed to be the most reliable among all media companies.
We also request our audiences to evaluate our news operations. According to this survey, confidence is very high, as 89 per cent of respondents trust Yle News and more than half consider Yle to be the number one news provider. These figures motivate us to develop our operations further and to focus heavily on the quality and journalistic independence of programming.
Several large events that brought people together took place during the year. The main focuses of attention last year were the Finnish presidential election and the summit of the US and Russian presidents in Helsinki. Through the television and Yle Areena online service, our broadcasts from the summit reached 1.9 million people in Finland. Sports fans were treated to broadcasts of the Winter Olympics in South Korea and the FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 programming included projects with diverse content, which audiences found interesting, powerful investigative journalism, impressive drama and experimental programmes, as well as history. The commemorative year of the 1918 Finnish Civil War was covered in a visible and diverse manner in our programming.
Our strong relationship with audiences
The quantity of our public-service programming on the radio and television increased slightly from the previous year. We focused on the development of and increased programming on Yle Areena. The availability of the Yle Areena online service improved considerably as the EU’s cross-border portability regulation enables consumers to access their portable online content services when they travel in the EU in the same way they access them at home. The access to Yle Areena requires logging in with the Yle ID. The accessibility of contents will continue to be improved as part of the development of the mobile and online services.
Yle’s position in the media use by audiences in Finland is solid. Ninety-five per cent of people in Finland used at least some Yle service weekly. This figure is approximately two percentage points higher than in the previous year. Yle’s reach among the young, whose age group is generally difficult to reach, also increased slightly. The general changes in the way the media is used are also reflected in the use of Yle’s services. This is demonstrated by the slight decline in the weekly reach of the traditional television and radio channels and, correspondingly, by the increased weekly reach of online services.
We have a strong relationship with our audiences. Yle TV1 continued to be the most viewed TV channel and Yle Radio Suomi nationwide channel with 18 regional stations the most popular radio channel in Finland. In a comparison carried out by Taloustutkimus Oy market research company, Yle Areena was ranked the best online brand in Finland among 146 foreign and Finnish brands. Yle Areena is also the most popular online service in Finland, beating even Netflix, which is number one elsewhere.
The number of Yle IDs has increased considerably. It hit the one million mark on 9 October 2018, and at the end of the year, the total number of Yle IDs granted was nearly 1.1 million. The IDs are used by people of all ages in Finland, and logged-in users spend four times more time on Yle Areena than those users who have not logged in. The logged-in users of the service include many who access Yle’s content on a regular basis, but the Yle ID offers obvious benefits to more occasional users of the services as well: selecting favourites or continuing watching from where it was left off on a different device improve the user experience and accessibility of programmes.
Towards new horizons together
Having a good relationship with audiences makes us happy, but to maintain the quality of the relationship requires continuous work. Yle’s programming has to compete for the audiences’ attention and time with other media, the ever increasing online services, the world of gaming, and various events as well. Making Yle’s services distinguishable and accessible in this flood of options is a challenge, and we use new technology and the opportunities created by artificial intelligence to find solutions to this challenge.
Yle’s vision is to be the most important medium for our audiences. We will succeed in this if we understand the needs of different kinds of people and their expectations of Yle. We want to listen to our audiences closely and fulfil their wishes by taking bold steps in the development of our operations. Agility and flexibility do not exclude the respect for traditions, effectiveness and, in particular, responsibility in all our operations.
Yle exists to serve people. In accordance with our strategy, Yle fosters a sense of community by listening to, involving and bringing together different kinds of people. We increase the sense of community by offering diverse contents and services for various situations in media use. The Yle Raati panel, established in 2018, helps us actively cooperate with active users of special services and experts of organisations representing individuals with disabilities in order to develop new services.
As in previous years, we allocate 15–20 per cent of our resources to development projects, such as contents aimed at the young and online development. In addition to new development, we must also ensure that Yle’s programming includes meaningful contents for all audiences, regardless of their age, wealth, background or place of living in Finland. That is at the core of Yle’s mission.
Yle’s important duty is to provide everyone with opportunities to participate in the society and, thus, support democracy. We make this happen by offering contents and services for language minorities and special groups, whose availability of programming in other media is limited.
New pilots and cooperation
We have a significant role in strengthening domestic culture. We are also an important supporting force and employer in the creative sector. Yle has a key role as a channel funding and distributing Finnish films, and in practice, we are the only media company that provided funding to documentaries and short films in Finland.
In accordance with the policies of the parliamentary working group (2016) led by member of Parliament Arto Satonen, Yle has increased the procurement of programmes and broadcasting rights from Finnish production companies. Last year, the procurement amounted to a total of EUR 47.5 million, which was more than originally planned. We find it important that our cooperation partners are prepared to adhere to Yle’s values in their operations and follow ethical operating methods. The #metoo cases in the media and film industry have clearly highlighted areas of improvement in the operating culture. We want to address these issues together.
In addition to cooperation in programme contents, we also develop artificial intelligence, robotics or data-driven operations as well as agile operating methods with our partners. Yle is one of Finland’s most significant technology companies – a factor that may often be overlooked. The Voitto robot ((Victory robot) of the Yle NewsWatch service made history by being the first of its kind in the world to send smart recommendations to the lock screen of mobile devices.
Responsibility is demonstrated in daily choices
Yle’s corporate social responsibility includes responsible spending and taking care of the taxpayer-funded company. Our financial situation was stable in 2018.
Responsibility is an integral part of Yle’s mission in Finland. The core of Yle’s public service mission is to create value for society and support the vitality of various population groups, regions, languages and cultures as well as the involvement and equality of citizens. We work to take the expectations and requirements of our interest groups into consideration in all our operations. The most visible part of our corporate social responsibility is realised in the diverse programming that incorporates financial, social and environmental responsibility. In addition, Yle’s Board of Directors has approved the principles of corporate social responsibility, which define the focus areas related to responsibility. Going forward, development will be focused on the areas of social corporate responsibility.
I took the position of Yle’s CEO in the autumn of 2018 and started leading this great company with a long history and a strong position in the daily lives of its audiences in Finland. That is the Yle we want to continue to develop in the changing world of media.
I have found this new position to be a most motivating and diverse vantage point that offers plenty of new opportunities.
I would like to extend my thanks to you, our audiences, as you are the reason why we carry out this work in cooperation with our competent and professional personnel and partners. We appreciate you being the driver that helps us perpetually improve our performance for a shared Yle!