E VRT: Interactive television pilot in Flanders
2.2. Revenue model
The VRT has three major income sources: government funding (70%), radio
advertising and television sponsoring (20%) and other resources such as
merchandising, public information campaigns and content selling (10%). A separate
4 million government grant has been received for the DHP project. The VRT
contributes another 2 million and the telecom operator Belgacom 2,5 million.
Since the VRT is a public broadcaster using a cost model rather than a revenue
model and also because the project is in pilot phase, explicit revenues are not
foreseen. Belgacom and other partners (including the VRT) may possibly charge for
new services in the future.
The E VRT employs about 21 people to provide content for the DHP and about
another 20, mainly technical, people have been working ad hoc for the project as
2.3. Content production processes
The DHP production platform is based on the multi channel publishing idea, i.e. that
content (text, video, sound, data, etc) is only produced once and is then distributed
through various channels in different formats. Produce once, publish anywhere is
the adage , according to Peter Goyvaerts. Broadcasters can only handle the
increased digitization and competition in rich audiovisual content when being
present on all the different platforms and devices does not automatically mean a
multiplication of costs. To be able to put the multi channel philosophy into practice,
we have to rethink our entire production process and digitize it fully, basing it on
open standards that can be used on all possible digital devices. This is why a
breakthrough in MHP and XML based technologies is so important for us .
It is the objective to re use news items developed for the teletext platform for
instance, in an information dossier for the DHP platform called IO in the graph
below which can also include, specifically for that platform, archived video and
audio. It means that you don t need to invest in huge numbers of journalists, as is
often the case for the websites of news media providers. Existing people can
contribute. You only need an end editor , says Peter Suetens, general manager of
the E VRT. This contrasts with the situation today with newsrooms that work
relatively independent from each other.
Speaking about online news via the Web, it should be noted that the VRT does not
offer, like the BBC, a real news website. The VRT has 10 websites but they are more
marketing oriented, related to the programmes on radio and television. The
Internet is not part of our core business (i.e. radio & TV) because it is not stipulated
that way in the management contract with the Flemish government. Teletext
information, on the other hand, is stipulated in the contract. Maybe news provision
on the Internet should be included in the future, as the VRT develops into a full
multi channel media company. But for now it is not. Also, the back office is not
available today to do that .
The following graph summarizes the multi channel publishing concept used by the
E VRT :
3. In Annex a more detailed graph of end to end multi publishing is provided.