More money to keep Dutch channel talking

By Robert Briel | February 20, 2009 | 08:57 UK

The fledgling Dutch talk TV channel Het Gesprek has received a fresh financial input from TV producer Harry de Winter, founder of production company IDTV. The money will be invested in strengthening programme output.

Het Gesprek was launched in 2007 by TV personalities Ruud Hendriks, Frits Barend and Derk Sauer as a “serious alternative” to the many commercial broadcasters in The Netherlands with emphasis on talk based programming. The channel made a flying start, securing analogue distribution on almost all Dutch cable networks, as well as carriage on basic digital tiers.

However, viewing figures remained low and the channel had difficulties attracting advertisers.

Late last year, the channel announced a programming deal with BBC Worldwide in a move to improve its content; it now broadcasts selected news programming from BBC World News with Dutch subtitles. The channel also broadcasts the daily David Letterman Show from CBS.

With De Winter coming on board, the plan is to expand programming with documentaries, music and culture. The Dutch producer planned its own “quality TV” channel a couple of years ago but failed to get it off the ground because of lack of investors.