Dutch pubcaster to reduce thematic channels

NPO, the umbrella organisation of Dutch public broadcasters, is to cut down the number of digital thematic channels from 17 to 12. The reason given is to reduce costs and improve the quality of the remaining channels.

The channels Dier en Natuur (nature documentaries), Omega TV (evangelical), 3voor12 (alternative music), Nederland E (educational) and Opvoeden Doe Je Zo (self help with bringing up kids) will face the axe.

There has been widespread criticism, especially from commercial broadcasters and cable companies, about the large number of channels. Commercial broadcasters claimed the public channels spoilt the market by launching channels for every niche market; the cable companies did not like the fact that they had to take all the channels or none.