Rights issues for Flemish Stievie OTT service

October 14, 2013 11.21 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Stievie on iPadJust weeks before a nation-wide launch, the Flemish OTT service Stievie is running into issues about catch-up TV rights.

The OTT TV Everywhere app for iOS on iPhones and iPads was launched last February by the three main Flemish television broadcasters VRT, VMMa and SBS Belgium.

The jointly promoted Stievie shows live channels and catch-up TV up to 36 hours after the original broadcast.

The broadcasters launched a pilot scheme last March with a maximum of 10,000 registered users, but now plan to launch it nation-wide during November.

The service will cost EUR5 a month for unlimited access to public channels VRT Een, Canvas, and Ketnet/OP12 and to all VTM channels (VTM, 2BE, Vitaya, JIM, and VTMKZOOM) and SBS Belgium (Vier and Vijf).

However, the broadcasters have failed to negotiate deals with a number of rights holders, who regard Stievie as an on-demand service for which additional rights have to be paid.

Fox, Warner and Universal have so far refused to give their blessings for the new service and they have since been joined by a number of Belgian production companies who also want financial compensation for the usage of their content.