Monday, August 15, 2005

Talpa soccer show: good for Versatel

Over the weekend the new Talpa channel, owned by Big Brother billionaire John de Mol, kicked off broadcasting highlights from the Dutch soccer league ('Eredivisie'). Reactions from connoisseurs, the media and viewers appear to be modestly positive. Time will only tell if Talpa can hold an audience similar to the one former host NOS (public network) boasted, which numbered up to 3.5m. Last night's main program attracted 2m viewers.

Personally I feel that Talpa will have to settle for a considerably lower number than 3.5m. First, the soccer-on-tv market is fragmented by the entrance of broadcaster RTL5; one full live match each Friday night should quench some thirst for football. Second, last night I counted not more than just 28 minutes of soccer highlights from three matches (apart form highlights from earlier matches). Even the high-profile Feyenoord match was awarded no more than just 12 minutes. For that you had to sit through a 90 minute show, filled with commercials and the usual crap from football experts. Third, Versatel is making pay-TV offerings a lot more interesting than the former Canal+ offering (low price, double/triple play).

In other words, the Talpa soccer show just might entice a considerable part of the audience into taking a(nother) good look at the Versatel offering.

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