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HMG’s cable networks undergoing facelifts

Dutch commercial TV venture HMG has announced what it terms as “distinct new identities” for its three national cable channels.

HMG, a Luxembourg-based holding company backed by pan-European media groups CLT and VNU, top indie producer Endemol Entertainment and broadcaster Veronica, will re-launch its three commercial outlets – Veronica and the CLT-backed RTL-4 and RTL-5

– onto the turbulent Dutch market on Sept. 1.

The three-channel group – currently under investigation by the European Commission for possible breach of competition rules – will square up to three pubcaster networks plus a range of new Dutch-language private cable outlets such as Euro 7, SBS and Arcade TV. As part of HMG, Veronica effectively will be stepping out of the public broadcast system and reinventing itself as a commercial outlet.

Announcing a prospective programming lineup for HMG, Holland’s largest-ever commercial TV venture, group chief Huib Boermans said schedules would be carefully coordinated. RTL-4, market leader with a 25% primetime share, would continue with proven “family” fare.

RTL-5, whose market share currently hovers around 10%, will switch from its current youth-male targeted guise into a “ready-to-fight” channel, said Boermans. It will have “flexible programming,” he noted. Sports will form an important part of the schedules.

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