The Flemish Radio- and Television Network Organisation (VRT) is the public broadcasting network of the Flemish Community. The VRT’s objective is to reach a maximum number of media users with a wide range of quality programmes that excite and satisfy the interest of the media users.
This mission and its stipulations are laid down in the media decree as well as in the management contract with the Flemish government.
The management contract between the Flemish Community and the VRT regulates the special rules and conditions for granting the financial envelop needed for the execution of its mission. The current management contract extends until the end of 2016.
The VRT submits an annual report on the degree to which the objectives and performance criteria laid down in the management contract have been met.
The public mission
As a public broadcasting company the VRT’s mission is to reach a maximum number of media users with a wide range of quality programmes that excite and satisfy the interest of the media users.
The VRT provides a high-quality selection of programmes in the information, culture, education and entertainment sectors. A priority is the focus on information and cultural programmes aimed at the media user. In addition to this there is also sport, contemporary education, self-produced drama productions, and entertainment. All VRT programmes have the greatest possible quality, both in respect of content, form and use of language and strive for the greatest possible quality, professionalism, creativity and originality, with attention to new talents and innovative concepts. Specific programmes aim at targeted population and age groups, particularly children and young people.
The programmes contribute towards the further development of the Flemish cultural identity and diversity and a democratic and tolerant society. The VRT contributes through its programmes towards an independent, objective, and pluriform public opinion in Flanders and consequently strives towards a leading role in the field of information and culture.
To realize the participation of a maximum number of Flemish media users in the public broadcaster and to secure its credibility, a large number of programmes is aimed at drawing the attention of a wide and general audience. Beside these general programmes other programmes meet the specific interests of viewers and listeners. The target groups are large enough and they are also reached by the programmes concerned.
The VRT keeps abreast with technological developments so that programmes can also be offered by way of the new media, if indeed required and desirable.
The VRT’s public mission also includes all activities that directly or indirectly contribute to its implementation.
The VRT’s public mission also includes the following added tasks:
(1) Media research and innovation
(2) Conserving and making available its archives through digitization (Digital VRT Archives, DIVA)
(3) Renovation of the broadcast premises
(Source: The Media Decree, Article 6, §2 & VRT Management Contract 2007-2011, Article 1, §1)
The management contract
The Management Contract 2012-2016 lays the emphasis on the social added value of the public broadcaster: a VRT that more than ever reaches and reflects Flemish society in all its diversity, guarantees high quality standards, which is transparent and geared to co-operation.
- The VRT is able to broadcast all its networks on dedicated channels
- Offerings for Flemings abroad and international people in Flanders
- Target figures for Flemish and Dutch language music
- Radio and TV offerings may be made available on all relevant platforms including internet and mobile
- Reliable and independent news is the priority with more investigative journalism and international coverage
- Diversity including target figures for the representation of women and New Flemings
- Improving accessibility for the blind and the visually impaired, the deaf and the heard of hearing
- Research and development stay as added tasks
- Audiovisual archive: VRT continues its DIVA project. Integration with the Flemish Institute for Digital Archiving that still has to be set up and providing access to audiovisual heritage will both be considered
- Mid 2012 the Flemish Government will take a decision on the future of the VRT’s Broadcasting House.
Former management contract
The third management contract started on 1 January 2007 and ended 31 december 2011 and lays down the objectives and conditions agreed by the Flemish government and the VRT for the next 5 years as well as the financial envelop granted to the VRT to fulfil its public mission.
The VRT’s public mission is clearly stipulated:
- The VRT offers culture, information and news, science, sport, Flemish audiovisual productions and entertainment.
- The VRT will strive towards a wide and general reach. In this context the increase of programmes on the generalistic channels is very important.
- The VRT will also develop generalistic programmes for specific target groups: children, young people and Flemish people living abroad.
- The VRT is given the opportunity to fulfil its public mission through specialistic thematic cultural, news and sport programmes.
The basic financial envelope
The Flemish government grants the VRT an annual financial envelope. This financial envelope is laid down in the coordinated media decrees,. Further provisos are stipulated in the management contract.
The VRT implements a mixed financial system: next to government financing the VRT generates part of its resources from its own income from:
- Radio advertising and sponsoring
- Exploitation of programmes and other revenues, e.g. from contracts with distributors.
- Derived products, e.g. merchandising.
Radio advertising and television sponsoring
The management contract imposes a limit on income from radio advertising and television sponsoring:
Radio advertising is limited to 40.9 Mio euro (to be annually indexed)
The income from television sponsoring has been limited to 10 Mio euro since 2008. Within this income framework the alliance partnership packages are further limited to 4.5 Mio euro.
On the other hand, the Flemish government has determined a guaranteed minimum income (= 90% of the maximum limit) from radio advertising and television sponsoring. When the VRT informs the Flemish government that its income will drop below the minimum level, an alarm procedure is started and the difference is settled to the VRT.
In 1990 the (former) BRT and the Vlaamse Uitgeversmaatschappij (now Corelio) founded the Vlaamse audiovisuele regie (Var). The VAR is now a 100% daughter company of the VRT.
The VAR provides services in the field of radio advertising, sponsoring, public service announcements and commercializing of websites. The VRT does not have the right to income received through TV-advertising.