Belgian broadcasters launch common TV Everywhwere service

December 3, 2013 09.35 Europe/London By Robert Briel

stievieThe three main Dutch language Belgian brodcasters are launching Stievie, their common TV everywhere service on Friday, December 6.

Public broadcaster VRT, and private VMMa and SBS Belgium are launching the subscription service to the general public after a pilot with 10,000 users. Monthly fee is €9.99.

Stevie allows viewers to see live streams of the broadcasters’ channels as well as catch-up programmes up to seven days after the original broadcast. Not all programmes will be available as catch-up, as rights to most TV series and movies are not included.

The channels available are Een, Canvas, Ketnet/Op12 from VRT, VTM, 2BE, Jim, Vitaya, and VTM Kzoom from VMMA and Vier and Vijf from SBS Belgium. Recepetion is possible on iOS and Android devices via WiFi or a 3G/4G network.

Broadband TV Views. The announcement comes at the same time as the broadcasters said they will take legal action against the cloud PVR service Bhaadu and OTT platform Weepee TV said it will pull the plug on its service because of the high minimum guarantees asked by the channels.

This begs the question – what are the motives behind the broadcasters’ moves against Bhaalu and WeePeeTV? By bundling together the three main Dutch language broadcasters onto a single platform they form an oligarchy in the TV Everywhere/OTT space. In a fair and open market, other platforms should be able to compete on an equal footing.

What are the chances of success for Stievie? The first signs are not encouraging: both Belgacom TV and Telenet already have their own TV Everywhere service, which is included in the subscription. And in the French-speaking part public broadcaster RTBF abandoned its Nomade TV service, which uses the same apps as Stievie, citing lack of interest from consumers.