The three main Dutch language Belgian broadcasters VRT, VMMa and SBS Belgium are combining forces to launch a common catch-up TV portal.
Under the working title Rumble, public broadcaster VRT is working with its two commercial counterparts to make programmes available up to three days after the initial broadcast on the TV set, tablet and smartphone. A Belgian version of Hulu, so to say.
According to a report in De Standaard, the three broadcasters are currently testing the service on tablets and smart phones among a handful of trialists. The pilot is set to increase to a few hundred users during the next few weeks.
The channels also hope to bring the service to cabler Telenet and IPTV platform Belgacom TV, but for the moment this seems an unlikely scenario. Private broadcaster VMMa is currently in conflict with the operator as it wants compensation for the usage of PVRs.
In VMMa’s view, advertising income is hurt because viewers choose to record programmes on their PVR and skip the commercial breaks. This undermines their business model and VMMa is now lobbying to make mandatory payments to broadcasters part of the media law.
Because of this dispute and the initiative to make payments obligatory, Telenet CEO Duco Sickinghe refuses to talk to the VMMa about the issue.
In a related development, Belgian French language public broadcaster RTBF has made its three national channels La Une, Deux and Trois available as live streams on their TV Nomade mobile TV service. Also, programmes are being made available on-demand up to 24 hours after their initial broadcast. Subscriptions cost €2.99 a month.