Belgian public broadcaster VRT has said it is ready to launch a third channel in 2012. The kids channel Ketnet and Canvas, which until now share a chanenl, will each get their own channel.
The broadcaster owns so many live sports rights, including the 2012 London Olympics, the Tour de France and the 2012 European Football Cup that a third channel is needed. A launch date is not yet set, but should be somewhere in the spring of 2012.
At the moment, the VRT uses the Sporza brand for live sports coverage, interrupting regular programming on its first and second nets. The launch of the third channel is primarily aimed at decreasing the number of interruptions on the Ketnet kids channels.
In an email to Broadband TV news, a spokesperson for the broadcaster wrote: “With the split of Canvas and Ketnet we want to serve our youngest viewers without interruption in the programme schedule. Canvas gets the the opportunity to present itself as channel driven by current affairs with great attention to details, interpretation, culture, events, … with a channel that already starts in the afternoon.[-] Sports will continue to be covered under the Sporza brand on both the first net (Een) and on Canvas.”
Like most public broadcasters in Europe, the VRT is also facing budget cuts. The funds for the new channel might come from the abandoning of the international short wave broadcasts of Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal, according to local news reports.