Former SVT programmer Annie Wegelius has died at the age of 58, following a long battle with breast cancer.
Wegelius was a pioneer of the television industry. She first joined London’s TV3 in 1986, and was the channel’s first program director. She went on to open her own production company, Wegelius Television. After selling the company, Wegelius created one of Europe’s first e-leaning companies: Kworld, which operated as the first privately owned digital terrestrial broadcast channel in Sweden.
Wegelius was program director at Swedish broadcaster SVT from 2007 to 2013, and was awarded the International Formats Gold Award at MIPFormats in Cannes in 2015.
That year, she curated MIPTV’s Focus on the Nordics, where she was able to use her experience in digital content to highlight the region’s accomplishments and innovations in that area.
“Because the digital revolution came early to our region, we are not only comfortable with next-generation technology, but we have had more than 10 years of experience in understanding how it impacts on consumer behavior, rights issues and the challenges of piracy,” she said at the time.
“We also operate in a brutally competitive market, where budgets are small but the expectations of our well-educated audiences are high,” she added. “That makes us an interesting test ground for new ideas, on the basis that if a show can make it up here, it can make it anywhere.”
“Today, grief is great at SVT. Annie Wegelius brought color, power and warmth to everyone she met,” said SVT’s CEO Hanna Stjärne, in a statement regarding Wegelius’ passing.
Swedish TV personality and media figure Robert Aschberg, who knew Wegelius since her time at TV3, said in a statement that it would be hard to find someone with as diverse experience in the Swedish TV market as Wegelius.
Eva Hamilton, SVT’s former CEO said in a statement that Wegelius had “a great sense of contemporary and programmatic style” and turned around the broadcaster during her time as program director.