The Flemish government has reached agreement on a new strategy for VRT for the next five years. The Flemish public broadcaster will launch a full national TV network aimed at teens. Currently two services share the second channel - Ketnet (mainly for children) up to 2000, and from 2000 Canvas (with news, science, history and sport). From 2013, these will become two separate networks, and Ketnet will expand to show programmes aimed at teenagers after 2000. Canvas will also be available for more hours per day, providing an improved service to seniors who are not so eager to stay up for late night programmes.
Rival commercial channels are not happy about VRT’s plan to enter the youth market. Peter Quaghebeur, general manager of the Femish Media Society (VMMa) which represents the commercial broadcasters, said: “VRT has no need for a third channel. They already have a market share of more than forty percent.”
The advent of a third television channel for VRT has been mooted for some time. “We have already protested against it from the beginning, but the Flemish government clearly did not take into account the concerns of the commercial broadcasters,” says Mr Quaghebeur. There are already two commercial networks aimed at teens.
Besides the third television channel, VRT is also getting a bigger budget. From 2012 the VRT will receive 293.4 million euros a year. This is 18 million euros more than at present.
Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal (RVi), the Flemish Worldwide service, will disappear, but as an alternative Radio 1 and Radio 2 will be broadcast worldwide via satellite, and all radio channels will also be available worldwide via the Internet. It’s not yet clear exactly when RVi will close.