Kutonen (TV channel)

Kutonen logo.svg
Kutonen (Sixth) is a Finnish general entertainment channel that replaced the music-video oriented The Voice TV in September 2012. Kutonen is very closely related to its Danish counterpart 6'eren, sharing its visual branding and much programming with it, as well as having close strategic connections to other brands owned and operated by SBS in other European countries.

In 2003, a Finnish multimedia corporation called Vizor Media Ltd. bid for a station in the digital terrestrial television network with a winning bid, putting aside bids from six other companies (including the country's largest media groups MTV Media and Nelonen Media). After winning the auction for the channel space, Vizor announced it would launch its station some time during 2004. Later that year they announced the name and the profile of the channel: Vitonen was due to become Finland's first cross media channel, widely utilizing the benefits of wireless technology and allowing viewers to participate in the broadcasts online, with their mobile phones and later, with the red button of one's set-top box (of which the latter never happened on this particular station). Regional broadcasts were also commenced to market products and services locally and more cost-efficiently. Test broadcasts were launched in December 2003 in the Otaniemi campus of the then-Helsinki University of Technology by the state-owned VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Previously that year various private companies also took part in an auction for the contract to provide red button services for Vitonen. The winning bidder, Icareus Ltd., started MHP tests in Otaniemi simultaneously with the DVB-T tests in co-operation with VTT.

The tests took three months to complete and on 12 March 2004 at 5:00 pm, the channel finally launched itself into the televisions of the digital nation on DTT channel 15. Note that at the final weeks preceding the launch, the name of the channel was simplified from Vitonen to Viisi The launch was preceded by a 10-hour countdown accompanied with white noise from 7:00 am that morning until the final hour – much like the launch of British digital station BBC Choice back in 1998. For the last ten minutes the precise seconds of the countdown were accompanied by the Greenwich Time Signal. At the point where one minute was left of the countdown, the decreasing numbers were joined by the famous Apollo 11 countdown sequence. At the 30 second mark, the first song of the station (namely Ready to Go by Republica) started to play and at "lift-off" – as it was called in the media – an explosion-like transition launched into the music video of Ready to Go. The first program officially transmitted on Viisi was an edition of the channel's music program Rumba.tv spanning the whole launch night. Its first months' programming consisted of interactive programs, music videos, movie/music/media magazines, low-budget import shows, teleshopping, infomercials and (mainly regional) chat shows. Viisi is also largely claimed to be responsible for introducing the TV advertising revolution in Finland, with overhead banners on top of broadcasts, adverts incorporated to station DOG's and showing classified MMS ads sent by viewers during normal breaks.

All the way from the launch of Viisi, its owner Vizor Media had close ties with the pan-European multimedia corporation SBS Broadcasting Group, mainly due to having bought most of its staff from SBS. The co-operation included simulcasting SBS-owned radio station Kiss FM's morning show Aamutiimi daily from 5 am onwards until the beginning of actual programs. SBS also handled the selling of Viisi's advertising time on behalf of Vizor. In August 2004, SBS, which already owned multiple radio stations in Finland and other Nordic countries, announced it would expand its services to television by buying Viisi from Vizor Media. After buying the channel, the new owner rebranded it as a 24/7 music-oriented station called The Voice, launching the new brand on 11 November 2004. Before launching on television, The Voice had been a strong and popular radio brand for 20 years in Sweden and Denmark. A local version of The Voice TV was launched three months before the Finnish version in Denmark, Swedish and Norwegian versions followed shortly afterwards. At first it only showed a mix of music videos and adverts, but five months after the launch, in February 2005, hosts appeared on the channel for the first time as well as did topical magazines. It aimed to be a largely influential party in the Finnish youth culture and it also aimed to be its mouthpiece by broadcasting programming for the youth, made by the youth – a thing no other channel in the country had ever done before. Initially covering only southern and western parts of the country, it grew to be a national station in a very small period of time. It went on to be one of the most popular digital channels in the country.

In the beginning of 2007, the SBS-owned radio station Kiss FM (also known as Uusi Kiss) was rebranded as The Voice, completing the so-called triangle of SBS' media platforms in Finland. According to SBS, "having a television channel, a radio station and a comprehensive website had a positive effect on the usage of all services". This includes television, which drew lots of new viewers to The Voice TV thanks to the co-branding. The effectiveness of the co-branding is debatable due to the fact that another SBS-owned radio station, Radio City, lost its broadcast license in the 2006 bid. The station was very much loved and topped the listening charts of the Helsinki area for many months of its last year on air – some shows of the station were even simulcasted on The Voice TV. After the ending of Radio City, only occasional listeners found their way to Kiss FM, which overall weakened SBS' foothold on Finnish radio. Nevertheless, The Voice kept going strong as a multimedia brand and got more television viewers than ever.

C More Entertainment, a major player in Nordic pay television, was owned by SBS Broadcasting Group until 2009 and SBS wanted to advertise and get more subscribers to the Canal+ channels, any means necessary. These means included turning the channels free-to-air for a few weekends each year, allowing the free viewers to get a glimpse of what Canal+ had to offer. After a while SBS realized that their message didn't necessarily get to all viewers and being desperate to get subscriber figures up, they decided to utilize their free-to-air channels for promoting purposes. In Finland, Canal+ had the exclusive rights to Finnish national football team's qualifier matches for FIFA World Cup 2010 and their only free-to-air television channel in the country at the time was The Voice. Sports didn't suite the channel profile well, so they decided to launch a general entertainment block called TV Viisi, showing cost-effective import programmes amongst sports and selected movies from the Canal+ Film line up. TV Viisi was launched on 10 September 2008 at 8 pm with the FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifier Finland v Germany and scored the most viewers a digital channel in Finland had ever achieved: 242,000 simultaneous viewers according to overnight ratings, which makes up 11% of all television viewers at the time. The viewer record was only broken by another football qualifier on TV Viisi between Finland and Russia on 10 June 2009, when 286,000 viewers were watching the game.

This page was last edited on 3 February 2018, at 20:21.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Voice_TV_Finland under CC BY-SA license.

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