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Dutch vote to change pubcasters’ structure

The board of directors of NOS, the umbrella organization for the Dutch public broadcasting system, has unanimously voted to alter the entire management structure of the pubcasters.

The move is expected to make the monolithic Dutch public system more commercially competitive.

The board asked the Dutch government to change its media laws to split the NOS into two separate entities. There are nine main public broadcasters in the Dutch system. NOS, the administrative group for all of the pubcasters, also acts as a broadcaster itself.

Lack of cooperation

Because of its management function, NOS has been forbidden to cooperate with other broadcasters, a factor posing a significant hurdle to efforts of pubcasters to compete against market leader RTL 4, the Luxembourg-based satellite station.

The board has asked the government not only to alter its law to allow NOS to make programs with other pubcasters, but also to divide NOS into two foundations. That includes one to continue to manage the whole public system and the second to create an entirely new broadcaster which would begin working with other pubcasters on Channel 3.

Pubcasters began working together to some degree last fall on Channels 1 and 2. The board also proposed that Channels 1, 2 and 3 each have their own managers to deal with the day-to-day operations. Currently, none of the channels have managers. Instead the individual broadcasters report back to their own organizations.

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