Norway’s longtime means of financing state broadcaster NRK through mandatory licensing fees will be phased out as of January 1. A new funding program will lead to the closure NRK’s license department in the Northern Norwegian city of Mo i Rana, throwing its 100 employees out of work but also offering them new opportunities.
The state culture ministry, which is in charge of media issues and NRK, revealed the changes at a meeting Thursday with NRK chief Thor Gjermund Eriksen, NRK’s finance director Andreas Norvik, the mayor of Rana Geir Waage and state librarian Aslak Sira Myhre.
The ministry simultaneously announced plans to create 70 new jobs at the National Library division at Mo i Rana. It’s all part of a new government report on the media industry to be unveiled on Friday.
Norwegian households and businesses are currently charged around NOK 3,000 (USD 350) a year in a compulsory “license” fee that provides much of the non-commercial NRK’s funding. Culture Minister Trine Skei Grande has called the license fees “old-fashioned” in the new media age with many more players and choices.