For Dutch TV rivals, all is fair in ‘Love’ and war

SBS6 buys hot TV format from under Veronica's nose

AMSTERDAM — Dutch channel SBS6 has added some fire to an already heated programming war in Holland by buying up rights to its nearest rival Veronica’s hottest format “All You Need Is Love.”

SBS6 and Veronica have been battling for aud shares since both launched onto the commercial landscape in late 1995. Both channels now hover neck and neck at 10% audience share.

Veronica belongs to the Holland Media Group (HMG), a network that also has channels RTL 4 and RTL 5; SBS6 is one of a string of European channels owned by the Scandinavian Broadcasting System.

13% ratings

In a deal inked Monday, SBS6 bought Dutch rights for the Endemol format “All You Need Is Love,” a program that in its last season on Veronica racked up ratings of 13% and brought in some 1.6 million viewers on average.

HMG was renegotiating for the program when SBS6 swooped in.

SBS6 also bought four other high-rated Endemol programs out from under the HMG aegis.

The deal with SBS6, if anything, sends a clear signal to the financially troubled HMG that Endemol is not in a mood to be trifled with. HMG is slashing hundreds of jobs and making cutbacks to bring its profits up.