Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cuts in Public Service Broadcasting in Hilversum

Wandered in for a while to the Netherlands Public Broadcasting New Years Reception. I thought it rather bizarre that the table at the entrance had cuts of meat on it and someone chopping and slicing things at the back, but apparently I was the only one who saw the ironic connection. It looks to me as though the NPO has not updated its mailing list in a while because few of the current influential politicians turned up to meet and greet. 


NPO Director Henk Hagoort lashed out at the politicians in the Hague of all political parties warning them that public broadcasting is for the public and decisions on programming are made in Hilversum, not the Hague. The problem is that many public broadcasters have become very distant from their audiences. Unlike the UK, the NPO has no NPO Trust where the public can at least have some input and influence on what they think of the programmes. There is no licence fee system anyone. It all comes out of general taxation. I describe it to foreign broadcasters as a classic case of government pay-TV.






Some of the Dutch public broadcasters run a loyalty scheme based on the ancient idea that people want to become a member of a broadcasting organisation in order to get hold of programme details - mainly for TV. The problem is that these broadcasters do not represent all sections of society. And the NPS, NOS, FunX and NPO seem to be answerable to no-one. 


In his speech, Henk quoted a figure of 200 million streams being delivered in 2011 by the website "Missed the Transmission". Actually, that's not a lot of streams, since it only represents attempted streams that were started - not whether someone watched the programme all the way through. Only now has the audience research organisation started to issue the Internet stats on a daily basis - and the figures drop off dramatically after the top three shows. Listening to radio transmissions after broadcast is not given the same prominence. I see they have revamped the site radiocast.nl. at the same time removing the stats. Was it because they were embarrassingly low? They could take a leaf out of the BBC in this respect, who publish the monthly figures



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