Private Cable TV
The times are achanging…
How France, Germany and Sweden introduced private, cable and satellite TV – a
comparison over the past 10 years.
Why we have chosen this subject?
Before starting to write about TV in Sweden, Germany and France, we wanted to
compare French,German and Swedish media. But on account of the wideness of this
analysis, we decided to focus on the evolution of TV broadcasting during these
last 10 years.
The technical revolution which has appeared in this area since 1980 is necessary
to be understood to be able to follow and forecast what will happen in the
future when multinational companies can take a look on pan-european broadcasting.
In this paper we try to make the point on this changes. Furthermore as we came
from different countries and live now in an other one, we found it interesting
to compare the three countries (France, Germany and Sweden) TV-broadcasting
While we were searching for datas, we discovered the gap that exists in cable-
covering between France and the two other countries. What are the main reasons
of this delay? Are they political, financial or cultural? We will try to answer
these questions in our paper. But we will first define the different technical
terms that we are going to focus on. Then we will developp the birth of private
channels, their regulations, laws and financing in the different countries.
In our paper you will find the following technical terms:
terrestrial broadcasting: this is the basic technology used to broadcast radio
and TV. Its the use of radio-frequencies that can be received by a simple
antenna. The problem by using terrestrial broadcasting is, that you only have a
few (up to max. 7) possible frequencies and that you need to have expensive
transmitters every 100-150 kms to cover an area.
Programms which are broadcasted terrestrical are e.g.: Swedish TV 1, 2 and 4;
German ARD, ZDF, 3. Programme and some private channels in urban areas; French
TF 1, France 2 and France 3.
cable TV: the reason why you have only a few frequencies by using terrestrial
broadcasting is that terestrial broadcasting is influenced by physical phenomens
(bandwith) whereas broadcasting in a cable is shielded/protected from outside
influences. So you can have more channels on the same bandwith-space. For
example: a cable might carry 7 programmes catched with an antenna from
terrestrical transmitters and additional 25 satellite channels (maximum 30-35
different channels in one cable). Instead of connecting to an antenna cable-
households connect their TV-sets to the cable-network. satellite broadcasting:
a satellite is a transmitter that is positioned on a course in space 40.000 kms
far from earth. The advantage of this technology is to cover a wide area with
only one transmitter. Modern direct broadcasting satellites (DBS, e.g. Astra)
can be received by small ( 30cm) and cheap ( 2.000:- SKR) “satellite-dishes”.
To connect a TV-set to the “dish” you also need a device that converts the
received satellite-signals to signals that can be used by a standard TV-set.
In the beginning (80s) this technology needed huge and expensive dishes and was
only used to transmit signals to cable-networks. Newer technology is often
cheaper than connecting a house to a cable-network. In east-Germany the German
PTT (Telekom) is competing with their cable-network against the cheap satellite-
dishes. The most tranceiver-signals on DBS-Astra are booked by British (NBC-
Super, MTV…) and German (RTL, SAT-1…) broadcasters. Satellites can also be
used for telephone-connections, TV- or radio-broadcasting.
3. TV-BROADCASTING IN FRANCE
TO BE FILLED WITH THE BEGINNING (PUBLIC TV 1930S – 1984) The first
broadcasting tests happenned in the late 30s like in Germany. It is only in
1945, after the second world war, that The Ordinance formalized the state
monopoly of broadcasting which was assigned to Radiodiffusion de France. The
Radiodiffusion de France has then included television in 1959 and became RTF
(Radiodiffusion-Television de France). Established as a public company
accountable to the Ministery of Information, RTF became an “Office” (ORTF) still
supervised by the government. The events that happened in France in May 1968,
have then helped the government to liberalize the medium. The government of
information was therefore abolished and in 1974, an Act divided the ORTF in
seven different public companies which formed the public broadcasting service :
TF1, Antenne 2, FR3, Radio France, TDF, SFP, INA.
Private channels emerge in France with Canal Plus the crypted-paying channel in
1984. This terrestical channel is owned by Havas. Canal Plus has to broadcast a
daily clear program lasting from 45 minutes to