VT4’s Monopoly-Buster Spurs Suits

The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders.

Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at regional, national and European levels. The most serious action was filed in late January by the European Commission, which charged before the European Court of Justice that the state of Belgium was violating the EC’s Television Without Frontiers directive.

The allegations are directly related to the VT4 case. Under Belgian law, the Flemish and French communities determine media and broadcasting policy. The EC charges that contravenes the TV directive’s cross-border trade guarantees by giving the regions too much power to decide if TV broadcasters from other member states can hook up to the Belgian cable.

The launch of VT4 has been hotly contested by the Flemish community’s minister of culture, Hugo Weckx. Last month, he refused to allow VT4 to hook up to the Flemish cable, but a Belgian high court suspended the decision after VT4 said it could suffer irreparable monetary damages if it didn’t launch on the cable as advertised Feb. 1.

VT4 says it holds a U.K. license and is not subject to Flemish law. Weckx charges the station targets Flemish audiences and advertisers and moved to the U.K. only to get around the Flemish law, which grants VTM an 18-year monopoly on commercial advertising.

The Belgian Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing Feb. 14 to hear arguments in the case.

More Scene

  • Demi MooreComedy Central's Roast of Bruce

    Demi Moore Appears as Surprise Guest at Bruce Willis' Comedy Central Roast

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Outfest Filmmakers Get Political, Issue Call

    Outfest Filmmakers Get Political, Issue Call to Action on Opening Night

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Bob Woodruff Foundation Acquires Veterans Org

    Bob Woodruff Foundation Acquires Veterans Org Got Your 6

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Tiffany HaddishTiffany Haddish at the Hollywood

    Tiffany Haddish on Future Career Plans, Taking Advice From Tyler Perry, Melissa McCarthy

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Vince Gilligan Carolyn Strauss Paley Center

    'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Suggests 'Maybe It's Time for Heroes Again' on TV

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Our Very Own Carlin McCullough

    Amanda Peet's New Play 'Our Very Own Carlin McCullough' Has a 'Game of Thrones' Connection

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

  • Shirel Kozak, Billy Crystal, Marina Zenovich,

    Billy Crystal, Filmmakers Remember Robin Williams at 'Come Inside My Mind' Premiere

    The Dutch-speaking section of Belgium became one of the hottest battlefields in the European Union Feb. 1 when U.K.-based VT4 broke the 18-year monopoly of market leader VTM by launching the second Dutch-language station in Flanders. Backed by Capital Cities/ABC and pan-Scandinavian media group SBS, the channel’s startup has triggered a tangle of lawsuits at […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content