Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Public broadcasting under fire

Yesterday the parliament debated on the new plans for public broadcasting in het Netherlands (2008) A lot of the parties favoured a commercial free public broadcasting system. The responsible state secretary Medy van der Laan however is not in favour of a commercial free public broadcasting system. Now the revenues from commercials for Public Broadcasters are valued at 150 million Euros per year. However there is a decline already set in, caused by newcomer Talpa, generating a larger choice for the market for advertising on the commercial side. Talpa is aiming at a broad audience and already has achieved a market share of 8,5 % (last month). The policy will be set in from 2008. Concern is there about uncertainty the Public Broadcasters are facing now their budgets are declining AND it is not for clear if they will keep commercial revenues. At the other side internal inbalance is evolving as the board of directors wants to integrate programms on the channels, one aimed at young people, one at cultural content and one broad channel to compete with commercial ones, while the broadcasting societies aim at getting there profile more sharpened. Public Broadcasting needs to get out of their inertia and speed up to market developments. Focus should be on generating more value through high quality products in stead of on policy and structure.