Media of the Netherlands

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Media in the Netherlandstelevision, radio, newspapers, magazines – are characterised by a tradition of politico-denominational segregation ("pillarisation") on the one hand and an increasing degree of commercialism on the other.

Television and radio[edit]

Television and radio are provided by a system of public-broadcasting organisations (sharing three television and five radio networks) together with a number of commercial channels.

Public service broadcasting[edit]

NPO Logo

The Netherlands Public Broadcasting system arose from the former practice – known as "pillarisation" – in which the country's various religious and social groups all organised their own institutions, with financial help from the government. These institutions included broadcasting. Although the system of pillarisation largely collapsed in the 1970s, the broadcasting associations themselves have remained active. Most have several tens of thousands of members, and they are allocated broadcasting time on the public channels in proportion to the size of their memberships. In addition, a number of other broadcasting foundations, established by the government, also receive air time.

The system is financed from three sources:

  • grant-in-aid payments from the government, raised from general taxation;
  • the income from on-air advertising, regulated by the Stichting Ether Reclame (STER), a public body;
  • (a small proportion of the total) the dues paid by members of the broadcasting associations.

The broadcasting associations share three national television channels (NPO 1, NPO 2, NPO 3) and seven radio channels (NPO Radio 1, NPO Radio 2, NPO 3FM, NPO Radio 4, NPO Radio 5, NPO Radio 6, and FunX). Each of these television channels have their own profile: thus NPO 1 is oriented towards news, sport, and family programming, NPO 2 towards culture, arts, politics, and religion, while NPO 3 concentrates on youth and progressive programming.

There are also several provincial television channels, which are organised by the provinces.