End of Dutch cable councils nears

November 4, 2013 08.34 Europe/London By Robert Briel


kabelraden meetingThe Dutch senate will pass changes to the Media Law today, Monday November 5, which will put an end to the system of cable councils.

The so-called kabelraden will cease to exist on December 31 with the updated Media Law taking effect on January 1, 2014. Until now, these councils had the power to prescribe the line-up of the first 15 analogue TV-channels after the set of must-carry channels. After the first 15 channels, the program,me councils could advise on the line-up of the remainder of the analogue cable offer.

Under the new Media Law, all platforms, not just cable, but also satellite DTH, DTT and IPTV, are obliged to offer a minimum basic package of 30 channels. This should include all must-carry channels, which include all three national pubic channels (Nederland 1, 2 and 3), the regional pubic broadcaster as well as any local public channel.

There is no obligation to carry all regional public channels nationwide, but there are some provisions of must-carry for nearby regional broadcasters.

In addition, the three national Belgian Dutch language channels from VRT (Een, Canvas and Ketnet/Op12) are part of the obligatory carriage.

The new law does not require the thematic channels of the public broadcaster (Holland Doc 24, Humor TV 24, 101TV, Cultura 24, Journaal 24, Politiek 24, Zapp/Zappelin 24 and Best 24) to be carried in basic.

Meanwhile, all Dutch cable councils are now winding up their operations and will have one final conference on November 30 to commemorate the end of an era, organised by Kabelraden.nl, the umbrella organisation of all councils. At the moment, there are some 60 active councils.