Fox International Channels is set to launch a free-to-air channel in the Netherlands this summer. Fox will also beef up its premium sports offer.
Negotiations are currently under way with the main Dutch TV distribution platforms including UPC, Ziggo and KPN. The new Fox channel will start with TV series and movies, but Dutch football highlights will be added in the 2014/15 season.
At the moment, Dutch public broadcaster NOS holds the highlights rights to the Dutch main football competition, the Eredivisie. All live matches are carried on the Eredivisie Live mutliplex of premium sports channels. Kast year. Fox acquired a 51% majority stake in the broadcaster, with the remainder of the shares owned by the Dutch clubs.
Through the Eredivisie Live deal, Fox owns the Dutch football rights – both live and highlights – until 2025 and has guarneteed a yearly payment of €80 million for the rights. Under Dutch media law, the highlights have to be broadcast on a free-to-air channel.
Although the Dutch office of FIC remains tight-lipped, the broadcaster is not only pitching the new FTA channel to the distribution platforms, but also a new premium sports multiplex that will replace Eredivisie Live.
Eredivisie Live has recently acquired more live sports rights including the Premier League, Serie A from Italy and the Jupiler League from Belgium. Until now, a number of these rights were held by Chellomedia’s premium sports channel Sport1.
FIC is already active on the Dutch market with a number of channels including Fox Life, National Geographic Channel, NatGeo Wild and 24Kitchen. UPDATE. Dutch press now reports a tentative launch date of August 14 for the new Fox channel.