When the earth
shakes in Hollywood...

Dirk Lodewyckx


For decades now, people have been predicting ‘The Big One’: a massive, devastating earthquake on the west coast of the United States. But even though an earthquake just like that did finally hit the Hollywood hills in 2023, they’re still standing, in all their opulent glory. Of course, the seismic shock was a figurative one, but the consequences of digital disruption in the TV and video industry are so profound that it will take a dramatic film adaptation in the style of The Day After Tomorrow to convey the impact to mere mortals.

The entire economic foundation of Hollywood, long considered a paragon of stability, is shaking. Analysts were quick to replace the ‘earthquake’ metaphor with the friendlier-sounding ‘consolidation’... But the consolidations of Disney and Fox, Warner and Discovery, and Amazon and MGM are nothing more than a Darwinian struggle for survival by media giants.

Iconic TV channels like ABC, CBS and NBC, which for decades were real household brands for millions of Americans, have been pulverised by mergers and acquisitions and replaced by Big Tech brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime and the consolidated studio brands Disney+ and Paramount+ – where the plus signs represent the remnants of the media mastodons of the previous era.

Unique advantage

But when the earth shakes in Hollywood, you can feel it tremble all the way in Vilvoorde and Hilversum. Because here too, up-and-coming and established streamers are the new playmakers. Exclusive, must-see content, bingeworthy series and inexhaustible catalogues are the new norm.

Fortunately, our perennial disadvantage – our small language area – is now proving to be an ace in the hole. As long as we keep excelling at local entertainment and storytelling centred around people near us, our content will be impossible to ignore and our future nowhere near as gloomy.

Hollywood can keep its drama – in the Low Countries, it’s all about level-headed entrepreneurship and strategic takeovers. Through entrepreneurship, we will transform our existing market position, driven by creation and innovation, while takeovers will help us scale our operations and invest in digital.

Both VTM and RTL Netherlands are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year – two iconic local television brands, moving in lockstep towards a bright and glorious future in the digital world.