The Dutch commercial broadcaster SBS is looking for payments between €2-3 a year, per subscriber, from cable operators in order to pay for HD broadcasts, according to Eric Eljon, MD of SBS Productions. Should a deal be reached, SBS will then be able to start HD simulcasts within a few months .
Additional costs for HD broadcasts are estimated to be around 20% of the total budget, and there is no way commercial broadcasters can recoup that money from advertising.
The three Dutch public networks, Nederland 1, 2 and 3, are expected to start HD simulcasts before the summer, with the costs being mainly paid by the government.
In The Netherlands, there is no licence fee, with the public broadcasting system paid for out of the general budget.
The commercial broadcaster RTL has said it is now in the process of upgrading its play out facilities to HD quality. However, there is as yet no time-table for the introduction of regular HD simulcasts.