Following their exciting new programming partnership with the here! channel in the US, OUTtv, Canada’s national gay and lesbian television network, announced today that they have licensed popular programming to OUTTV Media in the Netherlands, creating the first Dutch gay lifestyle television network.
“We are very excited about the opportunity developed by our partners at OUT TV Netherlands,” says Brad Danks, Chief Operating Officer for OUTtv in Canada, “The Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries in the world regarding gay and lesbian rights so it is great to have a footing in this enlightened market.” Despite formally recognizing the world’s first same-sex marriages by law and despite having ended criminal sanctions against homosexuality a full 156 years before Canada, it’s surprising that the Netherlands have been without an all-gay TV channel. “We find this a wonderful and positive initiative,” comments Frank van Dalen, president of the COC, a national Dutch gay advocacy organization, “It is great to know that there now is an actual TV channel for our target market next to the various gay-print media and (internet) websites.”
As OUTTV Media Group head Marc Putman explains, “OUT TV’s programming schedule will consist of successful international formats, its very own talk shows and news, art house films, and new TV series launching their premieres in the Netherlands.” The new channel will also feature American classics Queer as Folk and Dante’s Cove and the wild UK series Mile High but it is OUTtv’s made-in-Canada hits like Coverguy and Bump! that provide “the backbone of their programming schedule,” says Danks. As OUT TV now debuts on digital cable in the Netherlands, Chris and John are poised to become bigger than Barbapapa!
This European expansion continues OUTtv’s astonishing growth in the last two years: after doubling its subscriber base (with now more than 500,000 subscribers across Canada), the channel last month forged a programming partnership with the American gay channel here! In addition to sharing their existing programming, the two networks have worked together to produce two feature films, the film noir gay detective Donald Strachey mysteries, Ice Blues and On the Other Hand, Death, as well as a companion documentary feature entitled Martinis & Murder: Inside the Donald Strachey Mysteries. These and other here! movie titles will form a significant part of the OUTtv movie titles going forward. Danks says, “Partnerships like these offer us the opportunity to share costs and also develop interesting programs for the international marketplace.”