Belgian private broadcaster VTM has decided to stop programming this locally produced soap atthis timeslot. According to local press reports, the reason is that about 25% of all viewers watch the series on a PVR in order to skip the ads.
Since VTM charges its advertisers according to live viewing and the ratings do not include delayed viewing, advertising income around such programmes is no longer profitable.
The production of local soap Ella, broadcast at 6.30pm access prime time, will be terminated by the broadcaster. According to a spokesperson for the broadcaster, it is unlikely that VTM will commission such programmes again in the future – at least foir this timne slot. In an email to Broadband TV News, the broadcaster said that locally produced drama and fiction for other time slots remain unaffected.
Last year, the three main Flemish broadcasters VMMa (of which VTM is part), VRT and SBS Belgium told the country’s two main digital TV operators, Telenet and Belgacom TV, in a letter that PVRs “are destroying” their business model and asked for immediate action.
According to the public and private broadcasters, it is too easy to record programmes from the EPG, while the devices come for free or at very low cost. This severely hurts the catch-up TV services such as VRT’s Net Gemist, iWatch from VMMa and SBS Belgium’s C-More, which require payment, either per transaction or by subscription.