Published: August 31, 2010 07.08 Europe/London

In a letter to Telenet and Belgacom TV, the three main Flemish broadcasters VMMa, VRT and SBS Belgium told the two main operators PVRs “are destroying” their business model and ask for immediate action.

According to the public and private broadcasters it is too easy to record programmes from the EPG, while the devices come for free or at very low cost. This severely hurts the catch-up TV services such as VRT’s Net Gemist, iWatch from VMMa and SBS Belgium’s C-More, which require payment, either per transaction or by subscription.

“We offer a complete TV evening, a series of programmes and commercials. That is our product, not individual programmes. With what they [the platforms] are doing, they destroy that product,” Peter Quaghebeur, director of the VMMa, told the De Morgen newspaper.

However, the three broadcasters failed to give a solution to their said problems. As it happens, the growing number of digital TV customers in the country does not imply an equally growing willingness to pay for catch-up services. On the contrary, there is less willingness to pay. “No wonder”, according to a spokesperson of Belgacom TV, “with broadcasters airing so many repeats, there is little willingness to pay for such services.”