Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dutch TV station Tien, aka Talpa, exit

While Philips was celebrating its 25th anniversary of the Compact Disc, the Dutch television station Tien (in English Ten), a.k.a. Talpa, of John de Mol had its own exit party. After two years and four days the Dutch television station of John de Mol stopped. The spoils will be picked up by RTL Netherlands which has started RTL8 as an outlet for some shows now. RTL8 will aim as women as a segment. RTL also acquired the 32 million euro flag ship of the premier soccer league in the Netherlands.

You can ask the question what went wrong and go into a lot of nifty details. More interesting is the question whether Tien had an effect on the Dutch broadcasting world, which is a world of ‘more of the same’. When SBS has a skating show, RTL will have a variation on the theme. When RTL has Idols, SBS will have Who wanna be a popstar. So two years ago John de Mol promised to shake up the broadcasting world with new formats. And he tried. The news did not just have anchor persons, but they had a group of VIPs around the table, discussing the news of the day. This format was given up fast and Tien returned to the anchormen. Also soccer was going to be presented differently. People did not like it and at seven o’clock on Sunday night, when there should have been a prime time audience of 2,5 million viewers only 1,5 million soccer tifosi showed up. But John de Mol tried to bring new programs and he did. So the originator of the reality show Big Brother thought up the Golden Cage, where reality and fiction are intermingled; the winner keeps the mansion which is inhabited during the show and has a chance on the jack pot of 1 million euro. A change in advertising format had been promised by Tien; the station would work together with the advertiser. In this discipline things changed. And Tien used internet better than the public broadcast station

When Tien was announced as Talpa, the public as well as the commercial television and radio stations got a fright. They were sure going to loose audience shares to such a star studded station. The public stations went through a painful rescheduling and horizontal scheduling, while the commercial ones started to buy new formats. But after a year it was all over for Tien; yet Tien had shaken up the public and commercial stations. Now RTL is the wise guy on the block, having the soccer premier league and the start programs of Tien.

What is John de Mol going to do? He will not sit back and view the world. In fact he is moving his attention from the Dutch broadcast world to the world scene with Endemol. This company was acquired from Telefónica for 2.63 billion euro in May by a three-way consortium comprising Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, the company co-founder John de Mol through his Cyrte Investments vehicle, and Goldman Sachs. John de Mol will be involved in the operations of the company. One of his first actions was to remove the Telefónica chairman Elías Rodriguez-Viña Cancio as fast as he could, undoing the parachuting of a Spanish CEO in 2002. Instead he put in his veteran governor Aat Schouwenaars. Having put his man in place, John de Mol will have to start looking for money coffers, as the take-over is falling victim to the global credit crunch. The syndication by the banks Goldman Sachs, ABN Amro, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Lehman and Merrill Lynch has been postponed as debt investors refused to take part in high-risk buyouts. The consortium has also almost all of the remaining 25 per cent of shares; the owners of the remaining shares which total less than 1 percent of the shares. Endemol will soon leave the Dutch stock exchange.

Blog Posting Number: 842


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