De Tijd (30/06/2012) - There is no such thing as a free lunch. Ook niet op televisie.
The Flemish newspaper ‘De Tijd’ features a tribune by Prof. dr. Karen Donders (iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Prof. dr. Caroline Pauwels (iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and member of the Media Futures Forum) on free content in the media business.
The different opinions of Christian Van Thillo (De Persgroep) and Duco Sickinghe (Telenet) about free content in the media provoked a lot of reaction. Van Thillo claims that the personal video recorder undermines the business model of private television channels such as VTM. He wants distributers such as Telenet and Belgacom to pay a fair compensation for the flexible use of television. Sickinghe responds that the broadcasters are too old-fashioned. They have a good product, but they must renew the formula and not be afraid of technological developments. Broadcasters must search for a new business model.
The publication of the findings of the Media Futures Forum shows that there are some fundamental problems regarding free content in the media. Therefore, the Forum has a few recommendations which are relevant to the Flemish Media business.
Media Futures Forum believes that anyone who creates content, should be compensated to assure the quality of media. There is a need for a new approach to allow all broadcasters, newspapers and other players to develop new business models (for example, more personalized advertising). In addition, the people who invest in programs, journalism and creativity should be compensated, because there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Now, one can just wait and see whether the recommendations of the Media Futures Forum will also be respected.