Dutch ads pay rent

Report cautions gov't on dumping TV commercials

AMSTERDAM — A new McKinsey Report published in Holland indicates it will cost the Dutch government plenty if it eliminates commercial advertising from its three state channels.

The Dutch public broadcasting system NOS gets most of its funds for its operations from advertising and license fees, but some political parties have suggested that anywhere from one to all three of the state TV channels should become noncommercial.

The McKinsey Report, commissioned by the pubcasters, says loss of advertising would have a domino effect on the system, cutting back auds and subsequently on the license fees that can be charged to viewers.

If all three state TV channels become noncommercial, the system would have a deficit of 350 million guilders (around $175 million) a year, the report estimates. If two were made noncommercial, it would put the system into the red by $115 million annually. Loss of advertising for one channel would cost the network some $5 million $20 million a year, the report said.

10-year request

The McKinsey Report is being used by the NOS as part of its application for a 10 year license, to be issued from the year 2000 onward.

At a time when Dutch political parties and the government are pressuring the pubcasters to change, the report is surprisingly noncritical of the state system and warns too many shakeups in the public broadcasting system could affect the whole broadcast industry.

In a worst-case scenario, the report predicts that if all three channels went noncommercial, some 1,900 jobs would be lost in the state system, and commissions to the independent sector would also be affected.