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YLE ploughs extra €20m to high-end drama

Scripted-logo-460_2Lauri KivinenFinnish pubcaster YLE is a locate an extra €20 million (US$22.8 million) into high-end drama development and acquisitions as in a bid to bolster its international standing.

This comes after a government parliamentary group laid down an obligation following a report in June. While YLE’s production capabilities are set to decrease, there is a desire for the pubcaster to diversify its offer.

The government wants YLE to offer more regular dramas for children and young adults, and international coproductions. Ultimately, the plan is for YLE to expand the reach of Finnish drama overseas in conjunction with private production companies and overseas financiers.

Though there will be more collaboration, YLE will retain a production base in Helsinki, which will produce the daily drama Uusi Päivä there until autumn 2018. YLE Drama coproduces the show with Aito Tehdas, which is a coproduction between Aito Media and Akun Tehdas.

The cash investment is also a response to changing viewer habits. “Drama as recreation and entertainment is facing a major change, as viewers are moving in large numbers away from traditional television to online services,” YLE said in a statement.

“More and more Finnish viewers are also watching drama series from streaming services such as YLE Areena. This trend also emphasises international competition.”

“TV drama is globally in a golden age, and Finnish content is comfortably on the bandwagon. We want, together with Finnish production companies, to develop new successes, including in international markets. This will produce benefits for everyone”, said Ville Vilén, creative director at YLE.

“YLE has a good relationship with its audiences, and people believe in YLE,” said Lauri Kivinen, CEO of YLE. “We want to maintain this position. That is why we want to change our operations by re-allocating 15-20 per cent of YLE’s resources to new areas over the next four years.

“We will reorganise the company’s cost structures and keep our finances in balance, even though the YLE tax will not increase, while costs are becoming higher. In addition to drama, we will also increase other external purchases according to our guidelines. This will have various impacts on our personnel, which will be identified as planning proceeds.”