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Holland: Talpa deal makes waves

Mipcom 2005: Territory report

AMSTERDAM — Competition in Holland’s programming scene is nothing short of “murderous,” as one programmer puts it, but don’t expect that to translate into a bidding wars in Cannes.

Dutch media mogul John De Mol spent much of the programming money for Talpa, his new programming venture, before it launched in mid-August, inking enough cutthroat deals to leave competitors more than a bit wary.

But most of Talpa’s programming, including “Big Brother,” is homegrown. While its likely to stimulate a bit of talk — main attraction of “Big Brother” this season is seeing if a woman eight months pregnant will have her baby on the show — it’s not generating much worry among the competish.

Remko Van Westerloo, director of programming at Talpa, says there “won’t be much buying for at least the next 12 months.” Nevertheless, he’ll be at Mipcom to keep an eye on the situation, as will be SBS Broadcasting’s vice president of acquisitions, Bart Soepnel.

SBS will be combating Talpa programming with a string of blockbuster movies, in addition to some local programming of its own on its various channels. SBS lost “Expedition Robinson” after a run of some years to Talpa earlier this year, but came back with a lookalike local program, “Terra Incognita.”

Soepnel says despite Talpa’s declaration that it’s not in the market for programming, he will be at Mipcom to make sure that Talpa “doesn’t sneak away with something good.”

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