Film, video and photography
With the adoption of the 1972 Film Act (Law No 236 of 7 June 1972 om film og biografer passed by the Parliament on 31 May 1972), the old film fund was abolished and replaced by the state-administered Danish Film Institute. At the same time, the cinema licensing system was abolished, and film now came within the province of the Finance Act.
Today, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for the overall administration of state institutions connected with the Danish film industry.
The Film Act came into force in March 1997 (Law No 186 of 12 March 1997 om film passed by the Parliament on 27 February 1997). The Act fused the formerly independent film agencies – the National Film Board of Denmark, the Danish Film Institute and the Danish Film Museum – into one agency now known as the Danish Film Institute. The Media Council for Children and Young People was also established at this juncture to replace the National Film Censorship Board, the agency responsible for censoring films and videos aimed at children and young people following the abolition of adult censorship in 1969.
The Danish Film Institute is responsible for promoting the art and culture of film in Denmark by granting financial support to film production and other initiatives. It supports the development of film as an art form and Danish film and cinema culture.
Support granted to feature films is two-pronged: (1) the Consultant Scheme, which supports the development and production of films, based on an evaluation of the artistic merits of the individual project; and (2) the 60-40 scheme, which allows the Film Institute to grant subsidies of up to 60% without the necessity of the foregoing consultancy. The Film Institute also supports short and documentary films that promote educational, artistic and cultural activities.
Video is regulated according to the Film Act of 1994 (Law No 435 of 1 June 1994 om mærkning af videogrammer) passed by the Parliament on May 24, 1994.
Most recently, a new Film Act (Law No 563 of 24 June 2005) related to the implementation of the Local Government Reform has come into force.
Danish Film Crisis
As opposed to the positive development of the commercial market for contemporary art (see chapter 4.2.4), the market for Danish film has taken a negative curve in 2007 after years of success in the mid-1990s.
Just a few years ago, the most successful Danish films could easily sell 400 000 tickets. However, Primo 2008 was expected to sell less than 300 000 tickets. The average ticket sale for a Danish film in 2007 was 124 000, which is the lowest figure since 2000. Even with subsidies from the film institute (see chapter 1.3.3), this has created a crisis among Danish film producers.
To solve the crisis, it has been proposed to give the film institute greater flexibility, so that the institute can choose to subsidise 18 films instead of 26. Such a reform would ensure each film production would have a better economic foundation. Aside from this, the film industry has expressed a wish to start film-aesthetic discussions on how the industry can create films with high cultural content that capture viewer interest. Money alone will not do it.
According to the present Danish Broadcasting Act, all TV and radio-stations require a license or a registration by the Danish Radio and Television Board.
DR, TV 2 Danmark A/S and the regional TV2 stations are all part of the Danish public service radio and television. By living up to the public service requirements, they obtain access to the nationwide broadcasting net and – except TV 2 Danmark A/S – a share of the income from the license fees. DR and the regional TV 2 stations each have a public service contract with the Ministry of Culture. TV 2 / Danmark A/S is, apart from the general law on corporations, regulated by Act nr. 103 28 January 2010 and a specific public service permission. This permission is active until 31 December 2013, and only concerns the main channel, TV 2.
In the public service contracts / license, the TV and radio-stations commit themselves to provide the Danish public with a broad selection of programmes and services including news coverage, information, education, arts, culture and entertainment. They also commit themselves to quality, comprehensiveness and multiplicity, and in programme planning, they are obliged to consider freedom of speech and to aim at objectivity and impartiality. Moreover, the public service TV and radio stations are obliged to consider Danish language and Danish culture.
The public service broadcasters each have specific quotas for news coverage, Danish drama and programmes for children, which they are obliged to follow. The public service broadcasters are also obliged to broadcast programmes on arts and culture, but there are no specific quotas that they must adhere to.
There are no ownership regulations. Concerning quotas on the share of foreign programming, Danish broadcasters only have to adhere to the EU-directives relating to a certain quota for European programmes (see the EU audiovisual media service directive). There are no regulations concerning the share of Danish programmes that must be broadcast, although the public service contracts and licenses include the request for consideration of the Danish language and culture.
Every fourth year, the different parties of the Parliament enter into a media agreement regulating the media area, including the contents of the public service contracts and licenses.
The present law within the area (from May 2010), along with the recent Act from 26 August 2009, concern, amongst other things, changes in the must-carry rules and the licence charges, and an agreement for broadcasting on non-commercial TV.
Recent / impending amendments
- In 2001, the Public Service Council was established, but was shut down again in 2002. The tasks of the council were then transferred to The Radio and Television Board, except the assignment of raising a debate about the purpose of public service, which had been one of the main tasks of the Public Service Council.
- The Radio and Television Board was established in 2001 in accordance with § 33a in the Danish Broadcasting Act (lovbekendtgørelse nr. 701, 15 July 2001). The Radio and Television Board is an independent regulatory authority in charge of supervising the implementation of the Danish broadcasting legislation. The board has the following tasks: 1) to issue licenses to private national and local broadcasters, 2) to monitor whether private and public broadcasters are fulfilling their legal obligations and 3) to administer the grants for non-commercial local radio and television.
- In 2002, two new, more or less nationwide, government allocated radio licenses were put on sale to ensure more competition (Law No 1052 of 17 December 2002).
- In 2003, the public service contracts with DR and TV 2 were extended, with quantitative regulations on the content of their broadcasts.
- Local radio and television boards were abolished in January 2006. The tasks were moved to the central Radio and Television Board.
- By 2006, the funding for local radio and television was raised. This is contrary to the hitherto political decisions of lowering the funding.
- The media agreement of 2006 also resulted in the founding of a Public Service Foundation, with a budget of 75 million DKK to be distributed during the following four years to television broadcasters not funded by license fees and with a household penetration of minimum 50%. The Danish Film Institute will distribute the money.
- In the media agreement of 2006, it was determined that the next public service contract with DR shall oblige DR to provide news coverage in the most spoken foreign languages in Denmark. This is a reaction to the decision of DR to give up broadcasting news in foreign languages, which was part of their public service requirement to further integration and reflect on the diversity of the Danish public (see also chapter 4.1.8 on language laws).
- The Radio and TV Law was amended (BEK nr. 5) on 5 January 2011, in order to facilitate the public procurement of the fourth FM channel (see chapter 2.5.3).
A departmental order on modernisation of license fees paid by viewers and listeners of Denmark Radio and TV (DR) (Bekendtgørelse nr. 210 of 4 March 2008) has been implemented by the Ministry of Culture.
In accordance with the Media Agreement, DR has launched two digital TV channels, one aimed at cultural material, and another aimed at children and young people. In addition, DR launched a channel that screens in HDTV format.
The new Media Agreement, for 2011-2014, focuses on quality and diversity. There are no plans to extend DR’s supply of TV and radio channels, but rather to increase the quality of available channels. Included in these objectives is more focus on Danish art and culture and to play more Danish music on the radio channels (see more in chapter 2.5.3).
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