Competitive Dutch turn down volume

AMSTERDAM — Ad slump or not, Holland’s commercial broadcasters SBS and Holland Media Group, each of which operates three channels, remain hot for imports while duking it out for auds.

Heavy demands for local product and belt-tightening mean these nets will be on the hunt for bargains.

Both webs say they are not renegotiating any output deals.

But, notes Bart Soepnel, acquisitions VP for SBS, “We are addressing certain elements which we want to change in some of our agreements.”

With a new third channel, V8, added to SBS’ stable, Soepnel says there are no real cutbacks in acquisitions and “we’re not really looking for anything,” in the way of programming.

(Though Soepnel typically quietly inks surprisingly hot deals almost every time he frequents the market.)

Pubcasters in Holland don’t strike output deals anymore, notes Frank Mulder, director of program acquisitions and sales for pubcaster NOS. “We leave that to our commercial colleagues,” he adds.

None of the three state channels, which are heavily dependent on commercial ad revs, has noticeably cut back their acquisitions budgets, but they are paying much more attention to pricing details, Mulder says.

Holland’s only ayem program, “KRO Breakfast TV,” will end in June because of budgetary constraints at the state broadcaster.

The situation has been a long time in coming: The show was a jointly run effort by other broadcasters on Dutch channel Nederland 1, but when they bailed, KRO was left holding the bag financially.

Show was expensive to produce and pressures to compete have left the channel putting its cash where it does the most good — in primetime programming.

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