Broadcasting and on-demand audiovisual media services

Broadcasting means an television or radio provided by a media service provider for simultaneous viewing of programmes on the basis of a programme schedule. On-demand audiovisual media services means an audiovisual media service provided by a media service provider for the viewing of programmes at the moment chosen by the user and at his individual request on the basis of a catalogue of programmes selected by the media service provider.

The Broadcasting Act

The Broadcasting Act regulates radio and TV broadcasting and on-demand audiovisual services. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the Broadcasting Act and the accompanying regulations. 

The regulatory provisions of the Act cover matters such as permission to engage in broadcasting (the duty to obtain a licence), rules on on-demand audiovisual media services, advertising, sponsoring and product placement, retransmission via cable networks, must carry rules and general provisions concerning the financing and organization of the NRK. The administration of the Broadcasting Act has mainly been delegated to the Norwegian Media Authority.

Public service broadcasting

The objective of public service broadcasting is to provide the entire population with access to a broad range of content. Norway has one public service broadcaster (NRK).

The Ministry remains responsible for the ownership government of the Norwegian National Broadcaster (NRK). Under the Broadcasting Act, all broadcasters other than NRK are subject to licensing. The Broadcasting Act authorises NRK to engage in broadcast activities. NRK is financed by means of a license fee, and is obliged to offer public service broadcasting via radio, TV and the Internet. The NRK’s public service remit is set out in the NRK placard, which is incorporated into NRK’s articles of association.

The Government announced in June 2017 the opportunity to apply for an agreement with the state to provide commercial public service broadcasting. The agreement has a duration of five years and the compensation is up to 135 million NOK annually. The public service remit includes obligations to deliver national news programs, Norwegian language programs for children and young people, first-time broadcasts of Norwegian film and television drama. The broadcaster will be required to have its main editorial office and news desk at least 100 km outside of central Oslo. The commercial public service broadcaster must deliver its programmes on both linear and nonlinear platforms. The application deadline is set to 23 September 2017.

Radio digitisation in Norway

In 2011, the Norwegian parliament adopted the official criteria for radio digitisation. In 2015 – based on status reports from the Norwegian Media Authority and Norwegian Communications Authority – the government concluded that all of the applicable criteria were met as at 1 January 2015, and that digitisation should be implemented in 2017. The following criteria had to be met: 

  • The coverage of NRK’s digital radio services must correspond to that of the channel NRK P1 on FM.
  • The commercial DAB blocks must cover at least 90 per cent of the population.
  • Digital radio must represent added value for listeners in terms of technology and content.
  • Affordable and technically satisfactory solutions must be available for radio reception in cars.
  • At least half of all listeners must listen to a digital radio station daily.

The national broadcasters – NRK, Radio Norge and P4 – will phase out FM broadcasts region-by-region in 2017.

The 2011 parliamentary white paper on digital radio envisaged that most local FM radio licences could continue to exist after the technology shift, but that larger, commercial local radio stations would have to make the technology shift at the same time as Radio Norge and P4.

As planned in the white paper on digital radio, the Ministry of Culture published a white paper on local radio on 17 April 2015. This stated that approximately 215 local radio licensees would be offered a free five-year extension on their licences and that the FM framework conditions would be liberalised, but that FM licences with significant coverage in Norway’s four largest cities will not be extended or re-announced once they expire on 31 December 2016. The latter category encompasses 23 licences, including 22 which are already broadcasting DAB signals.

This is what DAB means for you