Luxembourg media comglomerate CLT announced last week that it intends to launch its much-touted second Dutch-language channel, RTL-5, on Oct. 2.The station, a thematic outlet intended to complement the Dutch market leader RTL-4, will be beamed into Holland from Luxembourg via the Astra 1C satellite. A corresponding transponder agreement has been signed between CLT and the bird’s owner, SES (Societe Europeenne des Satellites), with an option on a transponder on the future Astra 1D satellite. Discussions over the possible launch of RTL-5 have been ongoing for a year, though the final decision was made by an RTL-4 board meeting earlier this week. Says Jules Felten, RTL-4 board chairman: “We feel confident about RTL-5 becoming, just like RTL-4, a success in the future.” Though precise programming details have not been disclosed, RTL-4 head of programs Bert van der Veer described the intended schedule as “surprising and dynamic,” aimed at “youngsters, men and the higher-educated.” Timing right Henri Roemer, RTL-4 director and secretary general, said that despite unencouraging forecasts for Dutch advertising growth, he believed the time was right for the launch of RTL-5, and that the new station would “help develop” the market. Nevertheless, the timing has come as a surprise to some Dutch media observers given the ad slump. Just last week STER, the ad sales house for Dutch pubcasters , predicted a 50% slide in national TV advertising growth for 1993 (down to approximately $ 450 million) over last year. STER director Paul Kenninck, who blames the slide on the continuing recession , says there has been no advertising growth at all for the past six months — the first time this has happened in 25 years. At present, RTL-4, Holland’s sole Dutch-language commercial broadcaster, leads the prime time shares with 31.3% of the audience, followed by pubcaster nets Nederland 2 (22.2%), Nederland 1 (15.6%) and Nederland 3 (12.5%). A combination of foreign satellite channels, including the U.K.’s BBC 1 and BBC 2, MTV Europe, Super Channel and CNN, make up the remaining 18.4%.
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