Are the Dutch really willing to pay for television?
According to Dutch television presenter Ruud Hendriks, people in the Netherlands are ready to embrace paying full price for their entertainment.
Looking at the acquisition of Videoland, an on demand television and movie service, by commercial television RTL Netherlands this week, as well as the imminent arrival of American service Netflix, he said he expects no great upheaval in the way the Dutch watch television.
Worth the money?
This is despite the fact that he admits that paying for television is not something the Dutch have embraced in the past.
"The Dutch argue that they already pay for radio and television through taxation and through their cable subscription," he said, adding that despite this, he believed the aversion was shifting slowly.
"Video on demands sounds a bit strange for Dutch people: what do you do with it?" he said. "But as movies and series are more commonly available to buy online, more and more people are going to pay for them."
He pointed to the popularity of Fox Sports as proof that Dutch people are used to pay TV.
With the purchase of Videoland, all RTL television programmes will be available to buy online first, before they even reach the TV. Once they are screened for free, with advertisements of course, they will become available online again.
According to Hendriks, this is how content manufacturers and stations can tell piracy to get lost.
Apparently, RTL would be doing well to keep the subscription price below 10 euros a month, but the exact amount is not yet known. Hendriks says RTL will need to take a good look at the development of the American market.
The acquisition of Videoland by RTL will not threaten ordinary TV stations or their audiences, he said.
Yet accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers noted last week that the market for video on demand will double in the next five years, from 97 million euros this year to 206 million euros in 2017. That is an increase of 22 per cent per year.
Still, that is only a small part of the billion-euro television market, says Hendriks. "The impact on the television market is nil, but there is still good money to earn."