Media service license (radio, television)

You need to apply for a license if you want to provide a television or radio service using a radio frequency covered by the Estonian Radio Frequency Plan. You do not need to apply for a license to provide an internet radio service.

The license is granted for a fixed term and is not renewable. If you wish to continue to provide a media service after the expiry of the license, you must apply for a new license.

Types of operating licenses

  • a regional free-access television broadcasting license in one or more counties in the coverage area of up to 50% of the Estonian population;
  • a free-access nationwide television broadcasting license in a coverage area where more than 50% of the Estonian population resides;
  • a regional television broadcasting license with conditional access in the coverage area of one or more counties with up to 50% of the Estonian population;
  • a national television broadcasting license with conditional access in a coverage area where more than 50% of the Estonian population resides;
  • regional radio broadcasting license in the coverage area of one or more counties with population coverage of up to 50% of the Estonian population;
  • a national radio broadcasting license in a coverage area with population coverage of more than 50% of the Estonian population;
  • an international radio service license for the broadcasting of radio programs to a foreign country;
  • satellite television service license;
  • a temporary license for television or radio broadcasting (up to one month if the broadcasting purpose is to cover a specific event).

Licenses for providing radio services (except for temporary licenses) and free-access television services are granted only based on a competitive procedure. The competition is announced by the Consumer Protection and Technical Surveillance Authority. The conditions to be assessed in the competition are laid down in advance by the Ministry of Culture.

THE PROVISION OF A RADIO SERVICE ALSO REQUIRES AN APPLICATION FOR A FREQUENCY LICENCE.

Legal bases

Media services are regulated by:

Сross-border operating

No license is required in Estonia for the reception and retransmission in Estonia of a television or radio service operating under a foreign license. The licensing country carries out supervision, and the licensing country's legislation (country of establishment) applies.

Estonia and other EU Member States and EEA contracting countries have standard basic requirements under the EU Directive in this area, but governments may impose more detailed or stricter requirements. National regulations may therefore differ.

Submitting an application

To obtain a conditional access television service, a license to provide a satellite television service or a temporary license to provide a television or radio service, apply the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. The application must be accompanied by:

  • an investment plan and a business plan (except in the case of a temporary license);
  • in the case of a legal entity, a document certifying the authority of the applicant's representative, unless such authority is provided for by law or the articles of association of the legal entity;
  • the annual accounts for the financial year preceding the application's submission, if the applicant is a legal person not required to submit annual reports to the Commercial Register.

You can only apply for a free-access TV and radio license during state competition.

NB! PAY THE FEE BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION.

Processing an application

Applications will be processed as follows:

  • a decision on the granting, refusal, or rejection of an application for the provision of a television service with conditional access and a temporary license shall be taken within one month of receipt of the application;
  • a decision on an application for a license to provide free-access television broadcasting and a license to provide radio broadcasting in response to a call for applications shall be taken within three months of the deadline for the submission of applications for a license;
  • a decision on an application for a satellite television broadcasting license shall be taken within six months of the date of submission of the application.

The applicant shall be informed electronically by e-mail of the issue, refusal, or rejection of the license. The license shall be entered in the register of economic activities.

If the application's information is incomplete, the applicant will be contacted by e-mail after the application has been submitted and given a deadline for rectifying the application's deficiencies.

The license shall be valid for the period stated in the order granting the license.

Maximum periods of authorization:

  • provision of free-access television services - 10 years;
  • for the provision of a television or radio service with conditional access - 5 years;
  • for the provision of satellite television services - 5 years;
  • Temporary provision of television or radio services - 1 month (to cover a specific event).

Requirements for applicants

When applying for an operating license, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • you are a person to whom the Media Services Act applies (see Media Services Act, § 2);
  • You must demonstrate in the information provided in the application, through a business plan and an investment program, your ability to meet the requirements of the Act and the conditions of the license competition;
  • the license to provide a radio service or a free-access television service will be awarded to the applicant who submitted the competition's best bid.

On-demand audiovisual services

If you want to operate an on-demand audiovisual media service, you must submit a business activity notice to the register of economic activities before you start.

The on-demand audiovisual media service is used to watch programs from a catalog of programs at a time of the service user's choice, selection and request.

The features of the on-demand audiovisual media service are:

  • audiovisual, i.e., an audiovisual media service with moving images with or without sound;
  • aimed at the general public, i.e., intended for a substantial part of the population and likely to have a clear impact on them;
  • the service has informative, entertainment, and/or educational content for the public;
  • the service has an economic character, is a form of economic activity, and competes with a television broadcasting service;
  • the service is of a television nature;
  • the service provider has editorial responsibility as a real control over the selection, structure, and arrangement of the program catalog's content.

On-demand audiovisual media services do not include services providing partly audiovisual content whose principal purpose is not the provision of programs in audiovisual form and where the audiovisual content is incidental to the service, is not permanent, and does not carry the principal purpose of the service, and these activities are primarily non-economic and do not compete with television broadcasting. For example, websites where the audiovisual elements are predominantly provided complement other forms of content on the website and do not constitute a separate sub-service of the website, where video clips are provided on a catalog basis, are not considered as on-demand audiovisual media services.

Legal bases

Media services are regulated by:

You do not need to apply for a license to provide an on-demand audiovisual media service. The on-demand audiovisual media service provider is subject to a notification obligation.

Requirements for the applicant

The following requirements must be met:

  • you are an individual who meets the requirements described in the Media Services Act;
  • the service to be provided has the essential characteristics laid down in the Media Services Act;
  • the service complies with the general requirements for audiovisual media services laid down in the Media Services Act and with the requirements for the audiovisual media service to be provided.

Operating cross-border

To receive and re-deliver a TAV service in Estonia operating under another country's law (license, registration, a notice of economic activities, etc.), you do not need an Estonian license or registration submitting a notice of economic activities. The host country carries out supervision based on its national legislation.

Operators of audiovisual media services should be aware that there is a common set of basic requirements in Estonia and the other Member States of the European Union. The countries that are parties to the EEA Agreement countries may impose more detailed or stricter requirements. National regulations may therefore differ.

Submission of an economic activity report

You can submit an economic activity report free of charge by logging into the register of economic activities.

Among other things, the following information must be provided in the notice of economic activities:

  • the website address of the service provider;
  • the name and type of the TAV service and information describing the service;
  • the forms of access to the service offered and the coverage areas;
  • the name and contact details of the editor responsible for the program catalog.

If you have provided incomplete information to the Registrar, you will be notified by e-mail and asked to provide the necessary additional information.

The submitted business activity declaration will be immediately visible in the register of economic activities if you submit it electronically.

The economic activity notice is valid indefinitely.

Last updated: 07.04.2021