Dutch to replace cable councils

By Robert Briel
October 16, 2009 11.40 UK

The Dutch system of cable programme councils might be replaced by a new mechanism to protect consumer interests concerning basic television services.
In a letter to Parliament, culture minister Ronald Plasterk argues that the current system concerns only basic analogue cable, while more and more households are now switching to digital television. There is also criticism from the Dutch Raad van State and the European Commission. “Now is the time to change the system,” the minister believes.
In a new “safeguard model for cable and digital terrestrial television”, the current programme councils will be replaced by market research on viewing habits. Operators will be required to better inform their customers about changes in the television offers. In order to control the operators, regional ‘customer councils’ will be introduced. An interesting development is the fact that the digital terrestrial platform KPN Digitenne will also have to conform to the new system.
The new system will be applied to a basic analogue tier of 15 channels and 30 digital channels. Kabelraden.nl, the current national association of cable councils will be abolished and their tasks will be taken over by the Dutch media authority Commissariaat voor de Media (CVDM).