Toddler TV plans hang in balance following regulator advice

Summary

Kids’ TV channel Ketnet wants to launch another channel for the youngest of its viewers, but the media regulator isn’t convinced that money should be spent on it

Government to decide

Plans by VRT children’s TV station Ketnet, home of Bumba and Piet Piraat, to launch a channel aimed at children under the age of six must now be reviewed by the government after the media regulator VRM declined to give a definitive opinion.

Ketnet wants to launch the station Ketnet Junior because its offer for the youngest viewers is limited, said network manager Maarten Janssen. With a separate channel, Ketnet can offer more Flemish productions in a commercial-free environment for this age group.

VRT asked VRM to give a verdict on the proposal, and the advice came back neutral. According to the regulator, Ketnet Junior would be good for the protection and promotion of Flemish culture and identity but an additional public channel would be problematic from an economic point of view.

The decision must now be taken by the government of Flanders, which supports the public broadcaster. So far, NVA, a member of the majority coalition, has said it is not in favour of an additional VRT channel.