A uniform television advertising model for all Belgian channels, to breathe life into them

A uniform television advertising model for all Belgian channels, to breathe life into them

In summary:

  • The broadcast media are adopting a new TV advertising model for recorded content and catch-up TV by incorporating a one-minute unskippable slot at the start of any recorded programme.
  • This advertising practice is influenced by what viewers already experience on online video platforms.
  • Media groups in Flanders (DPG and Play Media) introduced this advertising model back in 2021, initially via Telenet and then via Proximus. RTL Belgium will become the first broadcaster to implement this new advertising model in French-speaking Belgium from 6 May, via Telenet.
  • As soon as the new advertising model is activated on their set-top box, Telenet customers will be able to receive catch-up TV for 7 days for free - included in their TV subscription - for even greater viewing flexibility.
  • This is the first step: the other companies in the market support this new model and are preparing a schedule for implementing it across French-speaking Belgium.


6 May 2024

More than ever, people are watching television and video content on every available screen. At the same time, more and more television advertising is being avoided by viewers. This behaviour has a direct impact on advertising revenues and therefore on the production of local television content, which is largely financed by such revenues. In view of these new consumption patterns and the importance of maintaining quality productions, television companies in the Belgian market are looking to introduce a uniform model for television advertising.

From 6 May, this will mean three major changes in the recorded content of RTL Belgium channels (RTL tvi, RTL club, RTL plug) for Telenet customers:

  1. Viewers will sit through one minute of unskippable advertising before their programme or film starts.
  2. As soon as the new advertising model is activated on their set-top box, Telenet customers will be able to receive catch-up TV for 7 days for free - included in their TV subscription - for even greater viewing flexibility.
  3. Viewers will not be able to skip through adverts when watching a catch-up programme. The programme content can be fast-forwarded, but not the commercial breaks.

Telenet will be rolling out the model from 6 May for the RTL Belgium group channels, making it the first French-language television group to adopt a uniform model for television advertising. This is the first step. Every other company in the market also supports the model and is planning to implement it.

More time-delayed content and too many fast-forwarded commercials

Television viewing habits have changed radically in recent years. Viewers are spreading their viewing time between the huge range of TV and video content on offer. According to a study commissioned in autumn 2023 by RTL Belgium, the average French-speaking Belgian consumes 5 hours and 37 minutes of video of all types every day. 58% of this time is devoted to “traditional” television (linear + recordings + catch-up), representing an average of 197 minutes per day. Another major change is the ever-increasing amount of time spent fast-forwarding commercials, which is of concern to many advertisers.

One minute of advertising to support local programmes

The growing trend towards time-shifted viewing and fast-forwarding during commercial breaks is leading to a decline in advertising revenue, which is the main source of income for commercial broadcasters. At the same time, advertisers are spending more and more of their budgets on international digital platforms. This loss of advertising revenue reduces the ability of television companies to invest in local productions.

For several years now, the Belgian television sector has been noting this trend and considering how to maintain the quality, accessibility and profitability of local content. In the light of this, market players have already been working together on initiatives such as personalised advertising (using TV advertising in a targeted way) or pause button advertising (displaying an ad when the programme is paused). These initiatives alone are no longer enough to maintain a sufficient level of revenue.

To preserve the quality and success of local content in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the various companies in the sector have joined forces to provide a uniform solution through this new advertising model.

This approach is nothing new for users: it is modelled on the online video platforms, which video consumers are largely accustomed to. The model will therefore be adopted by the entire sector, including RTL Belgium/Telenet, who are pioneering it in French-speaking Belgium.

In Flanders, private groups DPG and Play Media have already been using this advertising model for their channels since September 2021. In the latest phase, all French language television channels will follow suit.

Wilfried Celis, Director Strategic Partnerships & Public Affairs at DPG Media, says:

“The launch of new viewing and advertising models at Telenet is an important step in the expansion of our video ecosystem in the south of the country. Additional viewing convenience combined with forward-looking advertising models form the basis for strong collaboration with Telenet.”

Guillaume Collard, CEO RTL Belgium, adds:

“Television, the competitive dynamics with streaming platforms, the breakthrough of IPTV and consumption patterns have been constantly evolving over the last few years, forcing local companies to reinvent themselves and reaffirm their position through their local content, media, talent and strong brands. It is therefore crucial that we continue to preserve our business model in a way that is responsible, balanced and sustainable for everyone. This was implemented in the north of the country in 2021 and is standard practice in digital media. Therefore it's only logical that the south should follow suit so that we can continue to invest in our content and media.”

Telenet is the first operator to roll out the new model

In order to generate sufficient impact, this adapted advertising model needs to be supported by the entire sector. Telenet is responding to this demand by becoming the first operator to roll out the new model. The operator is doing so based on the conviction that collaboration in the sector is crucial if it is to continue to offer viewers high-quality local productions. At the same time, there is an understanding that, for customers, this means an adjustment to their usual way of watching television. Telenet therefore wants to stress that it will continue to focus on offering the best viewing experience for its customers. For example, catch-up TV is included free of charge as standard for its customers.

John Porter, CEO of Telenet, states:

We have seen radical changes to television over the last ten years with the arrival of international competitors and online platforms. New dynamics have emerged in viewer behaviour, as well as in the way viewers tolerate advertising around programmes. At the same time, the importance of partnerships to differentiate ourselves from international players and to allow local content and productions to flourish is clearer than ever. The industry has been talking about this for years, and the viewing convenience of our customers has always been at the heart of our considerations. We believe that, with this new advertising model, we have found a balance that benefits everyone. In doing so, we are giving the sector the breathing space it needs so that we can continue to offer our viewers the best local programmes and series. At the same time, we are continuing to focus on the viewing convenience of Telenet, for example by making catch-up television available to our customers free of charge.

From 6 May, Telenet will be rolling out the model for the RTL Belgium Group channels. The update is performed automatically on the set-top box and also applies to viewing on a second screen via, for example, Chromecast or the Telenet TV app.

As soon as the new advertising model is activated on their set-top box, customers will also be able to receive catch-up TV for 7 days for free - included in their TV subscription - offering even greater viewing flexibility. All customers concerned will receive a personal communication about this in the next few weeks. Customers will also receive a notification on their TV set as soon as the changes come into effect.


Press contact

  • Philippe Jaumain – RTL – 0476/56.27.53
  • Quinten Galle - DPG Media –0495/42.71.12
  • Stefan Coenjaerts – Telenet - 02/300 45 45



About Telenet BV

As a provider of entertainment and telecommunication services in Belgium, Telenet Group is always looking for the perfect experience in the digital world for its customers. Under the brand name Telenet, the company focuses on offering digital television, high-speed Internet and fixed and mobile telephony services to residential customers in Flanders and Brussels.

Under the brand name BASE, it supplies mobile telephony in Belgium. The Telenet Business department serves the business market in Belgium and Luxembourg with connectivity, hosting and security solutions. More than 3,000 employees have one aim in mind: making living and working easier and more pleasant.

Telenet Group is part of Telenet Group Holding NV and is a 100% owned subsidiary of Liberty Global. Liberty Global is one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband and communications companies, innovating and empowering people in six countries across Europe to make the most of the digital revolution. For more information, we refer to www.telenet.be

The Telenet newsroom can be found at press.telenet.be

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