Dirk Lodewyckx, COO of Medialaan-dPP “Television shall become more relevant in the future”

The plans for a Flemish Netflix are still on the table. And with VTM GO, Medialaan-dPP will soon launch an innovative platform that responds to the viewers' quickly changing habits. “Television is still very much alive,” guarantees COO Dirk Lodewyckx.

It seems however that television faces the most hardship.

Dirk Lodewyckx: “The landscape is changing super-fast. Today, television is much more than this big black screen in the living room. Entertainment in the form of video grows both explosively and exponentially. Never before, people have been watching television so massively, only now they do it differently: live, delayed and online. Viewers expect more comfort and an extensive service. As a television broadcaster you must be able to offer the same content for many different viewing types. Television is changing, but the medium stays immensely popular.”

Can viewers expect to be allowed to watch this content anywhere and anytime for free?

Dirk Lodewyckx: “Financing through advertising will allow a large amount of content to remain free of charge, while companies such as Netflix offer paid content without advertisements. There are also models with a mixed financing system. This trend will only increase in the future and also for local television companies.”  

Where lies the greatest danger in the years to come?

Dirk Lodewyckx: “In the international and local competition that has changed dramatically. On the one hand, we have to deal with powerful global players such as Netflix, Disney-Fox and Amazon, that offer paid streaming services worldwide. On the other hand, we have the local competition, where SBS shall turn into a broadcaster-distributor after its acquisition by Telenet. This can change the entire landscape.”

100 million

Medialaan-dPP yearly invests 100 million euros in Flemish content.

Do you still support the idea of establishing a Flemish Netflix?

Dirk Lodewyckx: “I do. If the viewer is willing to pay a monthly fee for paid content without advertisements, then we must invest in this segment. Netflix has a nice market share in Flanders, but we are convinced that there is still space for a second streaming service. Provided that we offer high-quality – Flemish and international – content and that we jump on this bandwagon very quickly. “If it does not work with the other Flemish stations, then we will try it on our own.”

Lukt een streamingdienst niet met de andere Vlaamse zenders? Dan proberen we het alleen.
Dirk Lodewyckx, COO TV & Radio Medialaan-dPP

Another ambitious initiative is VTM GO.

Dirk Lodewyckx: “VTM GO is intended to offer all of our Medialaan stations – live, delayed and by catalogue – entirely for free. This innovative project will be fully financed by advertising revenues. The advertisements on VTM GO will be shorter, but it will not be possible to skip them.”

Will television still be as successful now that everyone watches when and where it suits them?

Dirk Lodewyckx: “The digital disruption changed the viewing habits dramatically, but local television stations that offer strong domestic programmes will continue to bring people together in front of the screen. Therefore I am optimistic: television and video will become ever more relevant.”

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