The Medium Is the Message

Normaali

Viikko 27



Motion
: THW continue funding the FBC out of its own pocket and never start looking for advertising revenue
Role: MP (govt.)
Date: May 12th, 2013


I think that the Finnish Broadcasting Company (FBC, or YLE as it’s known domestically) has done a remarkable job of covering the whole of Finland in top-notch media. Some people delight in slagging off YLE, but in the following I’m going to provide you with the assertions as to why they are clearly in the wrong.

First of all, we would be up s*** creek without a paddle, if YLE did not cater for our intellectual needs. All the documentaries, talk shows, debates, election panels and most news you just could not get from anywhere else. No commercial channel takes pride in giving you talk shows without annoying commercials, which disrupt the flow of the show. And the guests – aren’t they most often populist choices, and increasingly of the reality-TV-fame variety. They may be entertaining, but they are not important in the traditional sense of the word.

Conversely, there is incessant talk on YLE, and most of it is on topic if not totally in the crosshairs. A lot of it comes from overseas. YLE gets a slice of its programming from France, Japan and more importantly, the UK and the USA, so YLE is not an agent for nationalism, chauvinism or provincialism, either. Finland is truly part of the international community thanks to this. Commercial channels, in turn, feed us with ”something else” (if you want to know what it is, just tune in.)

Another thing is technical: YLE has separated different elements of the digital flow into their own lanes. Sound, subtitling and motion picture are not glued to each other as one element like they are on commercial TV. This means that I may stop the flow of the show to enjoy a still frame while I’m still listening to the voice-over and watching the textual translation. Commercial channels, in opposition to this, have opted for a cheaper, corner-cutting solution, where all is one and the same block (think VHS). They do not care about finesse or details in their broadcasting activity.

The third thing is that commercial channels block viewers to more and more of their pay-TV supply while YLE gives more and more access to its already free programming on the internet and on the TV and the radio. On YLE’s digital repository, you can do the most compared with other providers of digital content. This could not be, if YLE was not a truly liberal, enlightened bureaucratic entity. Mindless entertainment is the only thing capitalist commercial channels do better than YLE.

So, what I’m saying is that YLE has an intellectual, a technical and a generous advantage over some others.

The question that we have to ask ourselves is not ”Is there a place for YLE alongside the commercial supply?” but rather ”Is there a place for the commercial players besides YLE?”. The more commercial have to vindicate themselves and justify their existence every year to both their advertisers and boards, whereas YLE can happily move on in calmer waters. YLE uses half a billion of taxpayer euros every year, but it is money well spent. Moreover, it’s only a fraction of what the BBC would use and does use in the current circumstances.


Puheen kesto: 4 min
Arvio: * * * *. Puhe onnistuu ihan kivasti tavoitteessaan ja kehuissaan. Sen lyhyt kesto saattaisi olla isompikin ongelma, mutta puhettahan pystyy venyttämään halutessaan ilmeikkäämmällä esitystavalla. Ja joskus lyhyet puheet ovat nimenomaan virkistäviä, sillä liian moni osaa tehdä sitä, mitä (varsinkin anglosaksien) politiikassa kutsutaan ”jarruttamiseksi” (filibustering). Tähdet tulevat asiasisällöstä.

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