The transition of the Estonian media from a planned economy to a free market system has been similar to the process in other post-Communist countries. It can be characterized by four main factors: the rapid expansion and gradual stabilization of the press market; the emergence of private radio and television stations, and the establishment of local radio station; privatization of the media; market concentration and growing competition among media firms. Today, the latter has become the most important factor governing market developments as well as media performance.
The Estonian media market is one of the smallest in Europe. The population of Estonia is 1.46 million, of which just 6% are Estonians. In 1998, a total of 75 newspapers, among them 15 dailies, and over 560 other periodical publications were published in Estonia. In addition to the public broadcasting network, 35 private radio stations and seven private television channels operate today.
Immediately after liberation from censorship and state control, an enormous expansion of the press market took place, in terms of circulation numbers as well as the number of titles. The years 1987-90 was the period of most rapid growth, when the total number of periodical publications increased 3.7 times and total circulation doubled, exceeding 2.55 million copies. Because of economic hardship, during the following two to three years the numbers of titles and circulation dropped drastically. Circulation of dailies decreased by a factor of three, the weeklies by a factor of two, the local press by two and half, and magazines and journals by three.
The circulation of some dailies exceeded 200,000 copies at the end of the 1980s, while in 1994 the top circulation was only around 60,000. Since 1994, circulation figures have stabilized and the number of titles, especially magazines, is even slowly increasing (Vihalemm, Lauk, Lauristin 1997: 232-233).
Table 1: Circulation dynamics of the now largest Estonian daily Postimees (1988-1998)
1993 74 000
1995 50 100
1997 57 900
Sources: Postimees, Estonian Newspaper Association.
Structural changes in the audiovisual landscape
Estonia had one radio station with three channels up to 1990, and one television station up to 1993. All stations were state-owned. During 1993-97, five national commercial TV channels were established. The market, however, seems to be too small for so many channels. By today, after mergers, two private national channels (TV3 and Channel 2) are operating and competing with public service television. Five regional and local commercial channels have limited broadcasting time.
Private broadcasters have had complications and difficulties in obtaining broadcasting possibilities. The Estonian Government decided to stop free transmission of two Russian television channels in spring 1993, subsequent to their refusal to agree to sign contracts and pay for transmission. Estonian private channels were given a chance to compete for the frequencies and transmission time of these two former Russian channels. As a result, the broadcast time was divided among six commercial channels (See more: Veskimägi &Susi 1998:119-120).
In March 1994, transmission of the third Russian channel, Ostankino TV was stopped because the contract expired and the new one was not signed. The means of transmission had to be re-divided among private channels. This was followed by a two-year period called ‘TV war’ because Ministry of Culture was not able to make a decision that would have been acceptable for all parties involved. Some private channels were given better transmission conditions than others. The problem was finally resolved by building new transmitters.
In many Central and Eastern European countries, it was rather general practice that the public broadcasters lost their dominant positions very soon after commercial channels appeared on the market (see e.g. Sparks & Reading 1995, Downing 1996). The same did not happen in Estonia. The public service television - Eesti TV/Estonian TV - was able to keep its position as the market leader up to April 1999. This can be mainly explained with reference to programming strategy. Public television has more original broadcasts than the commercial channels. For example, the share of current affairs programmes in ETV is about 10% of total programming time, while in private channels TV3 and Channel 2 it is 5% and 3% respectively. News makes up about 10% of ETV programming. Among the top 10 of the most watched broadcasts of all Estonian television channels in January 1999, nine were by Estonian TV. Among the top 50, there were only eight broadcasts by private channels (BMF Survey 1999).
According to a survey of BMF Gallup Media, ETV was the most watched television channel in Estonia yet during the first half of 1999. ETV’s weekly share among Estonian viewers in January 1999 was over 31%, while those watching the next popular private channel TV3 amounted to 25% (BMF Survey 1999). During the last two to three years, however, the weekly share of viewing time of public service television among all viewers (population in the age range 12-74 years), has gradually decreased compared to that of private channels (see table 2).
- Table 2: Weekly share of ETV and TV3 from 1997 to 1999 (Jan. each year)
- 1997 1998 1999
- ETV 35 19 21
- TV3 15 17 17
- Source: Baltic Media Book 1998, Baltic Media Book 1999, BMF Gallup Media.
Finally, in April 1999, private TV3 passed the public service television for the first time, achieving 18% of viewers, while ETV dropped to 16% (BMF Survey 1999). Competing private channels have managed to attract viewers with several popular serials like Ally McBeal, X-Files, and Xena - Warrior Princess aired in prime time. ETV also lost to TV1 the right to show Home and Away that has been permanently at the top of most watched serials in Estonia. In addition, TV3 offers a very popular current affairs programme Kahvel/Fork once a week that attracts more and more viewers especially among young people, and a well done news programme every day.
Non-Estonian viewers find themselves in a very different situation today compared with five to six years ago. After retransmission of television programmes from Russia was gradually stopped and the frequencies were given to Estonian private television channels, it is now possible to watch Russian television only via cable or satellite. In some regions - e.g. North-Eastern part of Estonia where the majority of the Russian population lives - the Russian channels can be received terrestrially. The most popular channel among non-Estonians is ORT 1, its weekly reach in January 1999 was 84% (BMF Survey 1999).
Estonian television stations, however, broadcast also in Russian: news (ETV, TV1), morning television (ETV, TV3), and prime time serials with Russian voiceover or subtitles (e.g. Santa Barbara on Kanal 2). Estonian TV broadcasts a 30 minute original programme in Russian four times a week plus a 15 minute news broadcast every day. A private Russian television channel (Orsent TV) was established in 1992, but it transmits only to Tallinn and Northern coast of Estonia. Its transmission time is 6 hours per week.
Up to the beginning of 1998, public television had two main revenue sources: state subsidies (about 56% of the budget in 1997) and advertising (about 37%). The rest was funded from other sources.
During the past few years, the question of advertising on public television has been extensively discussed. Private companies, who survive mainly on income from advertising, faced difficulties competing with state television on the advertising market. Due to state subsidies, public television and radio kept advertising prices relatively low, while private entrepreneurs were interested in increasing the prices.
The Broadcasting Law, passed in 1994, limited the amount of advertising in public service broadcasting to 5% of daily broadcasting time. In fact, public television still aired more advertising than the law allowed and concentrated most advertisements in ‘prime time’.
The problem found a solution in November 1997, when the Broadcasting Board gave Estonian TV permission to sign a contract with three private television channels for selling them its advertising time. Since then, private channels have paid advertising revenue to ETV and there was no advertising in ETV. In a way, ETV was still able to get advertising money directly from companies. Quite often logos and names of different firms are shown before and after the broadcasts with an announcement that they are sponsors of a particular broadcast.
In 1998, the private channels paid to ETV 36 million EEK for advertising time, in 1999 they should have paid 54 million. In May 1999, ETV announced it was breaking the contract with private television companies and starting to show advertisements again, because of the debt of the three biggest private companies to ETV. This debt caused an 18 million EEK deficit in the budget of ETV. The Broadcasting Board permitted ETV to sell advertising until the new legal regulations for broadcasting are adopted.
The lack of a stable model of financing seems to be the most serious obstacle to the development of public service broadcasting in Estonia. Therefore, a new draft of the Broadcasting Act proposes that public broadcasting will receive subsidies in the amount of 1% (plus 0.1% for investments) from the state budget annually. Other sources will be strictly limited advertising, technical services and sponsorship. (For more about the development of Public Service Television in Estonia see: Lauk 1998).
Satellite and cable television have become more and more popular and available. In 1992, Sat television broadcasts were watched regularly by 20% of the Estonian population, in 1997 the satellite and cable television was accessible to 41% cent of Estonian population (Baltic Media Book 1998: 149). There are four major cable TV providers in Estonia, three of them operating in the capital Tallinn, which has the biggest market for cable television. In addition to these companies, there are numerous small cable operators in Estonia, many of which still work illegally i.e. they are not registered in the Register of Companies and have no compulsory contracts (Veskimägi & Susi 1998: 124).
The changing radio scene
Since 1991, when the first private local radio station was established, the number of private radio broadcasters has increased to 35 by 1999. Fourteen of them are operating in the capital Tallinn, where also the public radio, Eesti Raadio/Estonian Radio is located. Estonian Radio operates four channels. The main channel for Estonian listeners is Vikerraadio/Rainbow Radio with quite a rich programming (news every half an hour, current affairs and children’s programmes, sports, culture, family programmes, broadcasts for farmers, music, entertainment). Its weekly share in autumn 1998 was 15% (Baltic Media Book 1999:186).
The other channel, Raadio 2/Radio 2, is mainly targeted at young and younger middle aged people, offering music, news, talk shows (weekly share in 1998 was 8%). In 1995, the third channel, Klassikaraadio/Classical Radio was established to broadcast classical music.
The fourth channel is Raadio 4 which broadcasts 168 hours per week in Russian, and also has programmes in Ukrainian and Belorussian. This is the most popular radio channel in Russian in Estonia (with weekly share of 11% on average in 1998). The other channels, which broadcast in Russian, are private Sky Raadio/Radio Sky, Russkoje Radio/Russian Radio, Radio 100 FM, which can be received in Tallinn and its surroundings, and Radio 100 Narva, which covers North-Eastern part of Estonian territory (around the city of Narva).
Characteristic to the local private radio stations is the lack of programming diversity. Most of them play modern music, the quality of their news programmes is low and most of them do not produce original broadcasts.
Among the private broadcasters, the most popular has become national station RaadioElmar/Radio Elmar, which was established in 1997 by AS Trio LSL. By the beginning of 1999, Radio Elmar achieved the position of the most listened radio station in Estonia, its weekly share reached 18%. Radio Elmar has growing popularity among middle-aged and old generations because it plays mainly Estonian original music and not so much modern music. It also does telephone interviews with the listeners.
In the competition between public service radio and private radio channels a similar tendency appears as on the television market: the private sector gradually strengthens its positions and popularity of public service channels simultaneously decreases (see table 3).
- Table 3: Weekly share of Estonian radio stations in 1995-1998 (% of listening time)
- 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
- ER/ Viker-
- raadio 22 27 28 28 15
- ER/ Radio 2 33 24 25 16 8
- ER/ Radio 4 13 12 13 12 11
- Trio/ Kuku 5 4 5 6 5
- Trio/ Uuno - 2 9 10 8
- Trio/ Elmar - - - - 16
- Other stations 27 31 20 28 37
- Source: TV and Radio Diary Surveys 1994-1998.
The Trio group is the biggest owner on the Estonian broadcasting market. It has formed a chain of 10 local radio stations all over Estonia, including two stations (Radio 100 FM and Radio 100 Narva) that broadcast in Russian. Up to 1998, all commercial radios were owned by national capital, except one that does not exist today. In 1998, the US company Metromedia International bought 49% of the shares of AS Trio. Swedish capital - Modern Times Group AB (owned by Industriförvaltning AB Kinnevik) established a regional radio station Easy FM in 1999, which broadcasts mainly modern music.
Concentration of ownership in the press market
Privatization of the state-owned newspapers and magazines took about five years. Unlike many other post-Communist countries, where the media properties were transferred into the hands of big international companies, in Estonia ownership passed mainly into the hands of national private owners. At the end of 1991, the government passed a decree under which newspapers had to be privatized by public tender. In most cases, existing editorial teams were able to privatize the newspapers. Banks and big industrial enterprises did not participate in the privatization of the media enterprises at that time. Today, however, one of the private TV-channels, TV1 has been taken over by a bank because the owners were not able to pay their debts to the bank.
The most widespread form of ownership in the initial stage of privatization was joint-stock company, with staff members as the main shareholders. From 1991 to 1993 most newspaper owning companies had a lot of shareholders each having only a few shares (e.g. Postimees had about 70 shareholders at one time). Since 1993, the number of shareholders has been remarkably reduced in the course of ownership concentration. People, who gradually bought up the shares from individual journalists, became the core owners. Publishing companies, which owned one or two publications, have been bought up by bigger publishing concerns or gone out of business. It is not profitable to publish only a single magazine or a newspaper with circulation of less than 6 000 copies (for more see: Tammerk 1998).
As a result of consolidation, by 1997 five national companies controlled the most of the press market (AS Postimees, AS Meediakorp, Eesti Päevalehe AS, AS Maaleht, AS Sõnumileht). 1998 brought the biggest changes in the structure of ownership in the media over the latest years. The leading position on the press market today is occupied by two companies, called Eesti Meedia AS/Estonian Media Ltd. and AS Ekspress Grupp/Express Group Ltd. (before renaming in August 1998 they were known as AS Postimees and AS Meediakorp).
AS Postimees was formed on the basis of the largest national daily in Estonia - Postimees/The Postman. Initially, the staff and the son of the newspaper’s pre-war owner, a Swiss-Estonian businessman Heldur Tõnisson, privatized the paper. In 1997, he bought up 95% of the shares and became the core owner. Thus, in fact, foreign capital took over the biggest Estonian daily newspaper. By the end of 1997, AS Postimees owned from 50 to 100% of five other media enterprises, the biggest daily in Estonia (Postimees) and several magazines.
The other company, AS Meediakorp (now AS Ekspress Grupp), grew from a four-men’s joint-stock company, established with the intent to publish the first private newspaper, weekly Eesti Ekspress/Estonian Express in 1989. In 1991, one of the initial owners obtained 51% of the shares, and his company Cronoes started to control the business. The company extended its main publication – Eesti Ekspress/Estonian Express, by establishing supplements, and started to publish magazines in addition. In 1997, Cronoes was reorganized and renamed AS Meediakorp. By the beginning of 1998, four publishing companies belonged to Meediakorp that published the second biggest daily in Estonia, Eesti Päevaleht/Estonian Daily, the biggest weekly Eesti Ekspress, a tabloid evening paper, ten magazines and four free papers.
Both groups have shares in local broadcasting enterprises, own printing plants, distribution chains, real estate and advertising firms. Estimated market value of the both companies is about 500 million kroons (about US$36 million).
Competition in the press market
Competition for better market positions has been gradually growing since 1994, when AS Postimees started to by up the shares of the regional dailies. It has achieved control over all four most important newspapers that have leading positions on the advertising and press markets of the regions.
In summer 1997, Postimees, traditionally the most popular newspaper in the second biggest city Tartu and Southern Estonia, was moved to Tallinn. This was an invasion to the advertising market of the second biggest national daily Eesti Päevaleht/Estonian Daily, which is published in Tallinn, and the third biggest daily - Sõnumileht/The Herald also in Tallinn.
Before September 1997, all Estonian dailies appeared six times a week. Facing breath-taking competition, in September 1997, Eesti Päevaleht started a Sunday edition. This step had been planned since competitor Postimees had moved to Tallinn. Within two or three days the other two dailies followed suit, although the distribution companies were unprepared and there were no editorial plans for the Sunday editions (Tammerk 1998:26). As a result, all three papers obviously had remarkable losses and the Sunday editions were stopped almost simultaneously in September 1998.
AS Postimees started a large advertising campaign in the streets of Tallinn, and on television and radio in the beginning of 1998. In addition, a promotion campaign was started in summer and subscribers were offered a 6-months’ subscription for 25% of the full price. Eesti Päevaleht immediately did the same in Tartu and area, and so-called price-war had been started. The winners were about 35,000 subscribers, but the papers lost about one million kroon per every 10,000 subscriptions. By the autumn of 1998, however, the circulation numbers of the both papers had increased: Postimees from 53 thousand copies in May to 65 thousand in September, and Eesti Päevaleht from 33 thousand in May to 48 thousand in September. As a result of increasing circulation, Postimees estimated the increase of the advertising turnover about 4 million kroons in 1999 (Paju 1999).
While Postimees group has been more successful in obtaining regional and local newspapers, Express Group has occupied a new niche in the Estonian advertising and consumer market. In 1992, this group started the first free paper Linnaleht/City Paper in Tallinn. The next step was to buy a strategic amount of shares of a similar paper in the city of Rakvere (with about 20,000 inhabitants). In spring 1998, a free paper was established in Tartu and given a name that was very familiar for citizens of Tartu - Edasi/Forward, that had been the name of Postimees for all the Soviet period. ‘Edasi’ had been popular as the most trustworthy and to some extent opposition newspaper during the Soviet time. New Edasi was a big success. Besides the ads, it contains a lot of practical information, a section of local news and some entertainment. Thus, it meets the everyday practical needs of many people, and has become very popular especially among people with small income, who are not able to buy or subscribe other newspapers. The managing director of Eesti Päevaleht, Mr Hando Sinisalu, says that these free advertising papers were the only products of the company that made a profit in 1998 (Paju 1999).
Since newspaper companies are not listed on the Stock Exchange, the vast majority do not disclose details of their financial performance. In fact, it is rather difficult to obtain data for the financial affairs of any media company (Business paper Äripäev that belongs to Swedish Bonnier Group is an exception in this respect).
A limited number of publications are still subsidized by the state. Direct subsidies are given to publishing companies owned by state (Perioodika/Periodics, Eesti TA Kirjastus/Publishing House of Estonian Academy of Science). They publish cultural, youth, children and scientific newspapers, magazines and journals. Indirect subsidies, such as distribution support to newspapers, also exist. In 1996, the Government subsidized the newspaper publishing in amount of 1.78 million kroons (about US$127,000) (Nordic Baltic Media Statistics 1999: 282).
Foreign investors enter the market
Competition among media companies reached its height in 1998 when two Scandinavian corporations - Schibsted from Norway and Marieberg from Swedish Bonnier Group - became the core owners of the both biggest Estonian media groups.
Foreign investors had shown little interest in the Estonian media market before 1995, when the picture of the main national players began to take shape. The first foreign investor, Bonnier Group, however, had successfully established a business weekly in 1989. Since 1995, this weekly - Äripäev/Business Day - publishes five days a week. After the successful start in Estonia, Bonnier established similar business papers in Vilnius, Riga and St. Petersburg. Äripäev is the only publishing company that made a profit in 1998.
Schibsted entered the market in 1995. At first Schibsted acquired 24% of the shares of the television channel Kanal 2/Channel 2. Today, Schibsted owns 80% of the shares of Channel 2.
In spring 1998, the owner of AS Postimees, Heldur Tõnisson, sold one third of the shares of his company to Schibsted. Schibsted’s investment made it possible to organize a big promotion campaign in Tallinn, to start a supplement to the daily Postimees in Tallinn, to hire more journalists, and to buy some magazines from small joint-stock companies. In August 1998, Schibsted increased its share in Postimees to 92.5% and it became a unit of Schibsted’s corporation under the name AS Eesti Meedia/Estonian Media Ltd. (Paju 1999). Schibsted also bought the majority of the shares (90%) of the third biggest daily Sõnumileht/The Herald and this became a part of AS Eesti Meedia. Sõnumileht was immediately reorganized to a quality tabloid similar to Swedish Aftonbladet and Norwegian VG. Seven newspapers with five supplements and 11 magazines belong to Estonian Media today. About 250 journalists work in these publications (Eesti Meedia 1999).
In spring 1998, the owner of AS Meediakorp also started negotiations with Swedish newspaper publishing company Marieberg, which is a part of the Bonnier Group. As a result, half of the shares of Meediakorp were sold to Marieberg and the company got a new name - Ekspress Grupp AS/Express Group Ltd. Ekspress Grupp has four newspapers, ten magazines and five free city papers. The total number of staff is about 230.
Seven out of ten top newspapers by circulation belong to these two corporations. They own the ten top magazines too. According to the data of the Estonian Newspaper Association, they produce 75% of the total circulation of daily newspapers and 35% of the circulation of semi-weeklies and weeklies. Thus, it is fair to say that the biggest share of the press market today belongs to these two corporations.
The year 1998 has thus seen the largest investments in Estonian press market and the biggest turnover that the media companies have ever had. The dailies appeared 7 times a week, new magazines were established, the printing capacities grew, new equipment was bought to the printing plants. According to experts however, the companies, except Äripäev, have not been able to gain profit in 1998.
The Russian language press
The Russian language press market is not as diverse as the Estonian language one. Circulation-wise, the number of Russian papers is considerably smaller than the number of Estonian language newspapers as a proportion of the population. The Russian-speaking population in Estonia comprises about 35% of the country. In October 1997, the combined daily circulation of Estonian language papers belonging to the Estonian Newspaper Association was 555,900 while the same figure for Russian language papers was 105,300. There were 172,100 copies of Estonian national dailies compared with 19,700 copies of Russian ones (Tammerk 1998:27).
All in all there are 16 titles of newspapers in Russian, among them two national dailies and two national weeklies, and six titles of magazines, plus two titles in both, Russian and Estonian. Two companies publish Russian newspapers and magazines: Rukon-Info AS (Estonija, Vesti Nedelja Pljus, Estonija M) and Moles AS: Molodjozh Estoni, Russki Potshtaljon (weekly supplement of Molodjozh Estoni), ME Subbota.
Growth of advertising
Before 1990 there was no advertising in the Estonian media in the Western sense of the word. There were only some classified ads in the newspapers and absolutely no advertising on radio and television. In 1990, after the successful start of a new type of weekly - the first private newspaper Eesti Ekspress, which was also the first to get bigger profits from advertising than from sales - many (then state) newspapers started to sell advertising space. Departments of advertising were established within the newspaper organizations and the first advertising contracts with different companies were made.
The advertising market in Estonia has developed very fast since 1992 (when the national currency kroon was established). The biggest increase of the volume of the advertising market took place in 1996. Compared with the year 1995, the growth was 45% (from US$25 million to 33 million). The volume of the advertising market in 1997 totalled 585 million kroon, an inflation-adjusted increase of one-third over the year 1996. The biggest advertising company today is Age Com, which owns four advertising agencies in Estonia, but also several agencies in other Baltic countries, Ukraine and Belorussia. In 1995 its turnover was 100 million EEK (Paju 1999).
The press still has the largest share of the advertising market in competition with the electronic media. According to Baltic Media Facts, in 1997 newspapers received nearly half (48%) of the total advertising revenue, followed by TV with 27%, radio 10% and magazines 8%.(Baltic Media Book 1999: 49). According to Estonian Newspaper Association, the proportions were similar in 1998.
The business daily Äripäev may serve as an example of how fast the growth of the advertising revenue of the newspapers has been. In 1993, the advertising revenue of Äripäev was 7 million EEK, in 1997 it was 52 million EEK (Paju 1999). Äripäev is still the leader on the newspaper advertising market.
On average, Estonian newspapers’ revenue from sales is bigger than from advertising, but there is a clear growth tendency in the share of advertising. In 1994, the proportion was 37% from advertising and 63% from sales, in 1996 it was 49% and 51%, respectively (Nordic Baltic Media Statistics 1999: 282).
1997 and 1998 were years of economic decrease in Estonia. As a consequence, the advertising market began to decrease in 1998 and by the end of the year it was about 20% smaller than it had been in January. Experts estimate continuation of the decrease up to the autumn of 1999. Taking this fact into consideration, companies have started to reduce publishing costs, reorganize work in the editorial offices and cut staff.
Journalist job market
The situation of the journalist labour market has changed drastically in the last few years. Simultaneously with the expansion of the media market in general, the number of journalists grew by about 20% by the early 1990s compared with the end of 1980s. The demand for journalistic workforce surpassed the supply up to the latest years. Journalists enjoyed high salaries, the employers used to overpay them and outbid each other for highly rated journalists. It was relatively easy to find a good job. For example, when in summer 1995 about 40 journalists lost their jobs in Tallinn after the merger of two daily newspapers, all of them were re-employed in the media within two months. According to a survey, in 1995, three quarters of journalists were not afraid of losing their jobs in the near future (Lauk & Harro 1997: 20). The situation has, however, changed faster than journalists expected.
Concentration of the media together with general economic stagnation has made the conditions of the journalist job market unfavourable today. The business daily Äripäev was the first to reduce the number of journalists in autumn 1998. The office in Tartu was closed. Only one journalist works for Äripäev in Tartu today. The other two big newspapers, Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht both dismissed around 20 journalists in winter 1998/99. A local radio station – Uudisteraadio/The News Radio – announced its bankruptcy on 25 March 1999, and 20 journalists lost their jobs on the same day.
The companies do not reveal data about fired journalists and it is difficult to estimate the number of unemployed journalists in Estonia at the moment. As the journalists have no trade union, they face difficulties in defending their rights when they lose their job.
The changes in the Estonian mass media sector during the 1990s have led to new types of ownership structure and a diverse media market. Alongside national capital, foreign investors, mostly from Scandinavia, have entered the market. In fact, as a result of consolidation processes, the press market today is mainly ruled by the two biggest media corporations, which are in turn owned by foreign capital.
In general, the economic factors - open market forces, commercialization and new forms of ownership - influence the character of media performance in Estonia more than political ones. Newspapers in Estonia claim complete editorial independence from political parties and the government. In the overwhelming majority of cases, that is so. A few parties have tried to publish their own newspapers but none has survived as a regular publication. Even on the eve of the Parliamentary elections in March 1999, only two small party news sheets were published, which, however, did not gain remarkable interest from the potential electorate.
In coming years, more than ever before, the nature of journalistic work will depend on market forces. Competition on the job market will gradually grow and this will probably increase the demand for professional journalists. The local media, especially the electronic sector that did not exist during the Soviet period, started to develop quickly in the 1990s. Local radio and television stations, however, survive only as parts of the chain of national or international corporations (like Trio LSL).
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Lauk, E. and Harro, H. (1997). The Estonian Media and Society in the Process of Change. In: Epp Lauk. Historical and Sociological Perspectives on the Development of Estonian Journalism. Dissertationes de mediis et communicationibus Universitatis Tartuensis 1. Tartu: Tartu University Press.
Lauk, E. Development of Public Service Television in Estonia. The Future of Public Service Broadcasting. Papers from the seminar in Turku, december 11-13, 1997. Communication Studies. Department of Art, Literature and Music. Series A: Papers and Reports, Vol. 1. Turku: University of Turku, 82-91.
Nordic Baltic Media Statistics (1999). Nordic Baltic Media Statistics 1998. Nordic Media Trends 4.. NORDICOM, Göteborg University.
Paju, T. (1999). Meediafirmad ja meediaturg. /Media Companies and Media Market/. Unpublished manuscript in the Department of Journalism, Tartu University.
Sparks, C. and Reading, A. (1995). Re-regulating television after communism: A comparative analysis of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. F. Corcoran and P. Preston (eds). Democracy and Communication in the New Europe: Change and Continuity in in East and West. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 31-50.
Tammerk, T. (1998). The Print Media.Understanding the Media in the Baltic Countries. Ed. By Helga Schmidt. The European Institute for the Media. Mediafact, 21-32.
TV and Radio Diary Surveys 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.
Veskimägi, M. and Susi, T. (1998). Too many fish in the pond? Estonia. The Development of the Audiovisual Landscape in Central Europe Since 1989. Published by ULP/John Libbey Media. Great Britain, 111-138.
Vihalemm, P., Lauk, E. , Lauristin, M. (1997). Estonian Media in the Process of Change. Return to the Western World. Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition. Ed. by Marju Lauristin and Peeter Vihalemm. Tartu: Tartu University Press, 227-240.
Epp Lauk (PhD) is Associate Professor at the University of Tartu, Estonia and Head of the Department of Journalism. She is the author of more than forty publications in six languages on the development of the Estonian media in different periods of their history, on professionalization of journalism, on censorship and freedom of the press. She is also contributor and co-editor of the first comprehensive survey of the Baltic media Towards a Civic Society. The Baltic Media’s Long Road to Freedom: Perspectives on History, Ethnicity and Journalism (1993), author of Historical and Sociological Perspectives on the Development of Estonian Journalism (1997), co-author of Return to the Western World. Cultural and Political Perspectives on the Estonian Post-Communist Transition (1997).