Protest against Dutch public thematic channels

April 21, 2008 – 10:34 BST

There is growing protest against the number of digital thematic channels from the Dutch public broadcasters. In 2006 some 17 channels were launched and resistance is growing from a number of parties.

“This tsunami of public channels is distorting the market and a waste of public money,” according to Jur Bron, MD of the Dutch music channel Oranje TV and the cultural channel BravaHDTV. Bron had a hard time getting a cable slot for his music channel because the public broadcasters started a similar service named channel.

The evangelical private channel Family 7 was removed from UPC and other cable networks because the public broadcasters already have two similar channels.

Amongst Dutch cable operators there is some unrest about the fact that the public broadcasters have offered all 17 channels under a ‘take all or leave it’ deal. Although neither the public broadcasters nor the cable operators are willing to comment, it now seems that the public broadcasters are willing to cut down the number of their thematic channels to 10.

This is still not enough in the eyes of Jur Bron, who has started legal proceedings with the European Commission in Brussels against the situation. “In Holland, the Commissariaat voor de Media and the minister of culture both turn a blind eye.”