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Business case studies No 354 - 17.09.2021

In this week’s egtabite we look to Belgium, where all Belgian broadcasters and telco operators have joined forces to introduce a revised advertising model for recorded content and catch-up TV. Following the implementation of the new model, recordings of programmes will be preceded by one minute of unskippable advertisements, similar to what viewers are already familiar with on many other video platforms. Viewers will still be able to skip the ad break during the programme they recorded. On Telenet's catch-up serivce, which allows viewers to watch programmes on demand for a period of seven days after the original broadcast, viewers will no longer be able to skip ad breaks during programmes. That was already the case for VTM's channels.

By introducing the new advertising model for catch-up TV content, Belgian broadcasters, in the Flanders region initially, are responding to the significant change in viewing behaviour over the past few years. More content is being watched than ever before, on all types of screens and at any time of the day - all at viewer’s convenience. This has resulted in advertisement being skipped more frequently. But as programmes on commercial channels are largely financed through advertising, this is exerting ever greater pressure on investment in local production. The revised model is the first step in addressing the issue and boosting the local television market, which is used to being spoiled with high quality local content.

Broadcasters and operators support the philosophy

The telco operator Telenet is the first to respond to the request from the Flemish broadcasters DPG Media, SBS and VRT. Telenet will start implementing the necessary changes from the end of September 2021 for the DPG Media and SBS channels. As a result, viewers will sit through one minute of unskippable adverts before any recording they’ve made of VTM programmes (DPG Media) and PLAY programmes (SBS). Users of Terugkijk TV, Telenet’s catch-up service, will no longer be able to fast forward through ad breaks during programmes, but they will still be able to fast forward the programme content itself.  As soon as Telenet customers have been switched to the new model, they will automatically receive seven days of Terugkijk TV free of charge.

VRT and the other Belgian broadcasting groups in the southern part of Belgium will introduce unskippable commercials at a later stage. Other operators also support the philosophy behind the new model and are currently holding constructive talks with the broadcasting groups about the concrete timing for its implementation.

A blueprint for ‘a new video ecosystem’ signed by Belgian broadcasters

The announcement of the new uniformed advertising model is part of a broader strategy announced recently by VIA, the Association of AV media in Belgium. In order to continue investment in local content, increase the ease and availability of TV content and digitise the TV medium at an accelerated pace, Belgian broadcasters signed a blueprint for a future-proof ‘new video ecosystem’ consisting of four essential elements moving forward:

  • Focus on an attractive new viewing models for consumers, where a 7-day replay TV options becomes a standard for all consumers on all platforms.
  • Development of future-proof digital advertising model, including the unskippable ad feature but also by further digitising the big screen by connecting to the AVOD platforms.
  • Improve the TV and video measurement system and implement use of qualitative data.
  • Build a marketplace, a new unified tool that combines linear scheduling with hybrid products (such as addressable advertising) in collaboration with all broadcasters.

“The kick-off is today,” Wilfried Celis, chairman of VIA, said when the unskippable ads were announced in August. “Step by step, the various initiatives are being rolled out in a gradual action plan. DPG Media & SBS are the first broadcasters to start and roll out non-skippable advertising at the end of September together with Telenet. In a next phase, the other broadcasters will follow (VRT, RTL, RTBF) and we will roll out the digital models. The vision is crystal clear, the discussions between broadcasters and operators are constructive. All operators support the philosophy of this uniform model. All broadcasters agree and are determined to make “the change” to a future-proof digital video ecosystem that benefits consumers as well as advertisers."



» 7 October 2021
Online Talk on Programmatic Strategies
(TV; online event)

» 2-3 December 2021
Noordwijk-Aan-Zee (Amsterdam)
CEOs' & Top Executives’ Summit NEW DATES
(TV & Radio; live event)

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