Media Digest 2018

Overview

End 2017, more than 9 Belgians out of 10 were able to watch digital TV. Telenet is the first operator in the North, challenged by Proximus while a strong competition between Proximus and Voo prevails in the South.

A first international operator offering “Over-The-Top” services entered the Belgian market on 18/09/2014: Netflix. This new player doesn’t seem, so far, to have an important influence on the audience of the main channels.
We also observe a development of the offer and consumption of TV on other screens than the TV screen. Several models of remuneration coexist and, on this field, local channels experience competition from big international web players like Youtube and Facebook.

The Audimetrie study had to adapt to digital TV; it had to take into account the fact that viewers can pause or register a broadcast. The study already incorporated time shifted viewing of programs until 6 days after broadcast since January 2010. Since 1/1/2016, it also takes into account the audience of the 7th day after broadcast. Given the viewing behavior of guests is fully part of the audience since January 2013, including TSV since January 2017, the current standard of TV analyses is Live+7+guests. Nevertheless, the study doesn’t measure yet viewing on other screens than a TV.

For what regards the offer of TV channels, North and South constitute two very different markets. In the North, Eén, Canvas and KetNet op 12, the public channels, don’t allow advertising at the exception of strategic alliance partners and general-interest messages. Medialaan, that commercializes its own channels (VTM, Q2, Vitaya, Caz) and the Nickelodeon and Disney group channels, competes with SBS, which is in charge of the commercialization of Vier, Vijf and Zes and acts as sales house for Discovery, TLC and Njam!. A third sales house is also active: Transfer. It commercializes a growing number of thematic channels (National Geographic, Xite, History Channel, Cartoon Network, Kanaal Z,…), the Viacom Group channels and Studio 100 TV. We also note that the telecom operator Telenet is a 100% shareholder of De Vijver Media, and thus of the SBS channels, since March 2018.

In the South, public channels are open to commercial advertising and compete with the private channels of groups RTL, AB (commercialized by RMB since 2013), Nickelodeon and Disney (via Medialaan), as well as the sales house Transfer which is in charge of the commercialization, among others, of National Geographic, Cartoon Network and MTV in the South.

The South also knows an important overflow from France while the overflow from The Netherlands remains limited in the North. It has nevertheless decreased from September 2017, the moment Transfer became the sales house in charge of the commercialization in Belgium of certain commercial blocks of TF1, the most important French channel in Belgium.

Advantages of the television:

  • impact: persuasiveness, images
  • large-scale national coverage

Disadvantages of television:

  • High threshold
  • Production cost

Rate structure and modus vivendi:
In Belgium, most campaigns are bought spot per spot and the measured audience is the audience of the actual broadcasted spot, not the average of the block.

For what regards targeting possibilities, one project of commercialization in “Addressable TV” mode has been launched in 2017: the SBS project. The scope is nevertheless limited : some off prime time blocks, using data from the Telenet set-top boxes and the Bisnode database.

The following principles prevail for planning and buying of TV campaigns:

  • Rates: rates are only valid during a very short period (from 1 week to 1 month); channels let them fluctuate in function of their monthly C/GRP objectives on their reference target(s).
    Caution!! Since 1/1/2016, most sales houses from the North (Medialaan, VAR, SBS) have decided to suppress the agency commission and to directly deduce 15% from their official rates. We thus need to be cautious when comparing costs with previous years or between regions, as the most important sales houses from the South do not apply this principle.
  • Scheduling: TV schedules are often modified due to a high competition level between channels.
  • Orders: the rule “first come, first served” prevails. Requests for advertising space are processed per order of arrival and directly booked in the softwares of the media sales houses by the media agencies.
  • Reservation: options must be confirmed within a period of 20 days; past that deadline, they are put for sale.
  • Change: campaigns booked and signed for budgetary approval can still be modified up to 5 working days before broadcasting in the North and up to 7 days before broadcasting in the South.
  • Postponement: the channels may apply penalties from 5% to 30% of the postponed budget.
  • Cancellation: following rules apply for cancellation of campaigns:

 

Sales Houses Terms of Notice Penalty
Medialaan
As of booking, and up to 60 days prior 1st broadcast 5%
Up to 30 days prior 1st broadcast 50%
Less than 30 days prior 1st broadcast 100%
VAR
As of booking, and up to 8 weeks prior 1st broadcast 0%
As of 8 weeks prior 1st broadcast 100%
SBS
As of booking, and up to 6 weeks prior 1st broadcast 0%
Less than 2 weeks prior 1st broadcast, if cancellation of more than 2 days or postponement of more than 2 days 30%
Transfer
As of booking, and up to 6 weeks prior 1st broadcast 0%
Less than 2 weeks prior 1st broadcast, if cancellation of more than 2 days or postponement of more than 2 days 30%
IP
As of booking, and up to 12 weeks prior 1st broadcast 0%
Up to 10 weeks prior 1st broadcast 5%
Up to 8 weeks prior 1st broadcast 10%
Up to 6 weeks prior 1st broadcast 25%
Up to 4 weeks prior 1st broadcast 50%
Less than 4 weeks prior 1st broadcast 100%
RMB
As of booking, and up to 12 weeks prior 1st broadcast 0%
Up to 8 weeks prior 1st broadcast 15%
Up to 6 weeks prior 1st broadcast 25%
Up to 4 weeks prior 1st broadcast 50%
Up to 2 weeks prior 1st broadcast 75%
Less than 2 weeks prior 1st broadcast 100%