TV3 is a television channel targeted at a Swedish language audience and owned by Viasat (MTG). It was founded on 31 December 1987 by entrepreneur Jan Stenbeck as a joint Scandinavian channel, but Denmark soon got its own version of TV3. In the early 1990s, Swedish and Norwegian versions also separated. At the time of foundation only two other Swedish television channels existed, that of the public service company SVT. Nowadays six Swedish channels are broadcast as terrestrial "free-to-air", but no TV3.
After the 1991 Swedish general election won by a right-wing coalition it was expected that the SVT monopoly of terrestrial TV broadcasting would be broken by the introduction of TV3. However the new government favored the creation of a new channel, TV4, instead and it was not until Swedish TV converted to digital between 2004 and 2007 across the different parts of the country that TV3 was on terrestrial TV. The reason why the Carl Bildt Ministry decided no to let TV3 become terrestrial was not explained by the government. Speculation at the time was that the channel planned to locate in Gothenburg instead of the capital, Stockholm. Although Sweden has a large area with long distances north and south, it is one of the most capital-centralized countries in Europe. MTG applied several times for analogue terrestrial broadcasting licenses, but was always declined after the 1994 election when the Social Democrats returned into power. Following that rejection TV3 offered shorter and shorter news programmes, poorer quality productions and low viewer ratings.
It was one of the first channels on the Astra 1A satellite. However, in several cities and towns Swedish TV3 become available through cable television networks. Today the channel is available via satellite (DVB-S/S2 through the owner MTG's Viasat and also at competing Canal Digital, terrestrial (DVB-T/T2) and cable (analogue and DVB-C). Despite being a channel with commercial breaks in all programs, the channel lacks news and live broadcasting and no longer has home-made productions. However, it is still not a free-to-air channel. Via the analogue cable networks the channel is almost free of charge and is usually included with around 15 channels for a very low monthly fee.
The channel originally showed factual programs, news (originally for 20 minutes, later only for 3 minutes only), reality series, game shows, morning children's programs and pure commercial programmes (called "Bork Bork Bork"). In 2006, it became an entertainment channel only, having dropped all daily news programmes. After digitization and sharper competition, imported films, series and mainly American sitcoms, are all what the channel offers. Acquired programming on TV3 include among others The Simpsons, NCIS, The Nanny, Weeds, Charmed and My Name Is Earl. Previous original programming included reality and game shows like Expedition: Robinson (bought from SVT in 2004) as well as some factual programs. But as of 2012, due to the many new channels that's been released after the digitization, the channel has almost entirely been reduced to a "broadcasting machine" with poor viewing rates.
Beforehand, TV3 did transmitted major sport events including:Ice hockey: the annual World Championships (which TV3 broadcast from 1989 for 20 years
Football: Swedish, European, World Cup qualifiers and Champions League as well as English Sunday league matches in the early years
American Football: a weekly magazine about NFL during season and broadcasting the annual "Super Bowl" live, but very late times
Golf: some of the majors
Tennis: Wimbledon and at occasions other Grand Slams
The Olympics and the big national-team football championships had, until then, always been broadcast on public service channels as well on the free-to-air terrestrial TV4. Though the UEFA Euro 1996, in England, coverage was split between TV3 and public service. However, MTG bought the rights for the Olympics starting from 2016, and some of the Olympics may be aired on TV3. The national team football championships will remain in public service and TV4 at least until the World Cup 2022. Other live sport events occasionally appear on TV3. As an example The Champions League final of 2012 was broadcast on TV3. However, most of the sport that MTG has bought is broadcast on other channels.
After having used a 3 surrounded by a circle as its logo since the start of the channel, on 7 September 2009 it was dropped for a new logo consisting of a 3 with a dash underneath. The new logo was developed in cooperation with the New York-based graphics studio Trollbäck + Company and comes with a complete graphical makeover and the new tagline Strong Feelings, Strong Characters. The remake also includes some adjustments to the programming in an overall attempt to give the channel a clearer and more targeted profile. The objective of the changes was to make MTG's television channels (also including TV6 and TV8) more popular than the TV4 Group in the 15-49 demographic.