TV ratings war spreads to radio

TV2's purchase of a national radio station means that the broadcaster that broke the state's TV monopoly will try to repeat its performance over the airwaves

The battle to be the most popular broadcaster in Denmark spilled over into radio Wednesday, as TV2 outbid its competitors for the country's fifth national radio station.

TV2 began transmitting in 1988, breaking public service broadcaster DR's television monopoly. After its bid of DKK 23 million (EUR 3 million) per year for the next eight years for the new radio station, TV2 will now also butt heads with DR over the radio as well.

Denmark's four other national radio stations are all run by DR. Three years ago, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's Sky Radio tried to break the monopoly when it won the rights to the fifth station. Financial difficulties forced the company to break its contract last year, however.

At that time, a heated bidding round pumped up the sale price to DKK 54 million (EUR 7 million). Although five media houses met up at yesterday's auction, the bidding took just seven minutes, with only MTG, who own satellite TV channel Viasat and publishers Metro International, bidding along with TV2.

After the hammer had fallen, TV2's president, Per Mikael Jensen, told listeners to expect the same down-to-earth approach to programming that TV2 has used to become Denmark's most popular television station.

'We've been at eye-level with people. Now we'll be at ear-level with them,' he said, adding that he hoped to capture at least 20 percent of the national market and turn profit within six years.

Prior to the auction, the minister of culture, Brian Mikkelsen, had called the sale a way to create a more diverse media landscape. He believed the bargain basement price would help that to happen.

'The less the station was sold for the better, because that means we'll see a healthier radio market. Besides, this wasn't about making money for taxpayers. It was about making room for increased competition to DR,' Mikkelsen said.

The Copenhagen Post

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