Friday, January 08, 2016

BPN 1719: Flemish VTR Teletekst service ceases

The Flemish Radio and Television Organization (VRT), the Flemish/Dutch lingual part of the state sponsored BRT, will stop with the broadcasting of teletext in phases. The number of people using teletext, is decreasing in recent years, in Belgium. Only the subtitling of television programs via teletext will be continued.

VTR Teletekst service was launched on May 8, 1980 by the BRT. In 2005, 800,000 people watched the teletext pages of the VRT daily. In 2009 this figure had decreased to only 599.388 people per day in 2013 the figure was further halved to around 295.381 Flemings per day. In 2014 there were 123.709 unique visitors, according to the annual report of the VRT.

 The private Flemish news channel VTM launched its teletext on February 1, 1996. On October 31, 2014 the service was abolished. The functions were taken over by the website and the VTM app. The subtitle function on page 888 remained available.

Turning point
After 35 years of teletext services are on a turning point. With the introduction of internet in the nineties teletext services were integrated in the websites of broadcasting companies. But now the teletext function has been taken over by apps. The BBC teletext service Ceefax is already defunct since 2012. Yet teletext services in France and Germany are still in operation. The popularity, however, of teletext is decreasing by the use of connected televisions, set-up boxes, but especially by consulting tablets and smartphones.

When will Dutch Teletekst stop?
In the Netherlands Teletekst service of the state sponsored broadcast company NOS is still pretty popular. The service was launched on April 1, 1980 with 700 consumers, who could receive teletext on their television. When commercial television was allowed in The Netherlands in 1989 teletext services were part and parcel of their broadcasts, but they never were competition for the NOS Teletekst service. With the introduction of internet the NOS Teletekst service was integrated on the Digital City web side and on the NOS broadcasting company in January 1994. In 2000 2,8 million people used the service daily, but from that point onwards the audience decreased to 2,5 million users of teletext on television. Another 2,5 million people consumed teletext on their computer, mobile or tablet. By 2014 the total figure was down to 3,5 million Teletekst users. Will the NOS Teletekst be still alive by 2020?

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