New ops to create additional revenue streams

AMSTERDAM — In fiercely competitive Holland, the Dutch are used to squabbling over ad share, but the stakes have moved and players are going toe to toe over multiplatform gold.

The territory’s two biggest commercial outfits, the three-channel Holland Media Group (HMG) and SBS Broadcasting’s Dutch arm, which by the end of March will control three channels, are putting together multiplatform content-delivery ops aimed at generating new streams of revenue.

“Whereas before we were concerned with promoting viewer loyalty for a specific channel, now we’re promoting it across a whole platform, including radio, TV and Internet,” notes HMG’s CEO Dick van der Graaf.

The new approach is the raison d’etre for the rebranding of HMG’s channel ME, (formerly Veronica) as a new multiplatform delivery device.

“Gone is the historical rebel youth image of Veronica,” says Kees Gerritsen, ME program manager. “We want programming that will appeal to the new generation of 20- to 34-year-olds who, through the Web and mobile telephones, have the world in the palm of their hands.”

SBS’ Dutch arm and its channels SBS6 and Net 5 began building multiplatform streams of revenue several years ago with the launch of such Net-linked programs as “The Bus” and the more recent “Webstride.”

The network, which has several radio properties, was expected to complete due diligence by the end of March on acquisition of a 50% slice in News Corp.’s TV10, the holding company for Dutch channel, Fox 8.

The deal is that SBS will run the evening programming on Fox 8 while News Corp.-owned Fox Kids will run the daytime slot.

While HMG and SBS prepare for a multiplatform battle, the Dutch public broadcasters remain cautious.

“There is no vertically integrated multiplatform buying going on, although we do buy all rights with a license for promotional activity on the Internet,” notes Frank Mulder, director of program acquisitions and sales for the state system.

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