RTL Netherlands:

The Importance of Connectivity for Broadcasting

“For RTL Netherlands, AMS-IX board membership was strategically important. Joining the board demonstrated how seriously we take relations with ISPs who deliver our content to end users. Being a member also offered a great mix of organisational and technology aspects. I’ve always been very enthusiastic about networks, infrastructure and the Internet, as well as initiatives that introduce structure and connectivity. I’d love to join again, but the charter states membership is ‘once in a lifetime’ only!”

During his time on the board, Jan Paul was involved in finding ways of integrating video more deeply with ISPs, moving servers into other networks. Initially, they were worried that AMS-IX might run out of capacity, but this never became an issue. “Overall, it was good to be able to present the views of a content provider on a variety of topics. This view has been locally focused, as we only operate within the Netherlands.”

Having an association that is represented by a board, places AMS-IX in a unique position, Jan Paul feels. “From a marketing perspective, I’ve always found the fact that AMS-IX is an association very important. It means that the AMS-IX is a neutral exchange, and there is no other like it in the Netherlands.”

On-demand and other TV developments

When browsers were introduced, everyone could upload and read web content in a standard format. In 2000, RTL Nederland began offering Internet-based services, and saw a direct connection to AMS-IX as the obvious strategic choice. They were one of the first TV companies to be directly connected to an exchange. “This was regarded as odd at the time, but now, it is standard practice.” In 2002, the Dutch public broadcasting service came up with the excellent on-demand viewing service ‘Uitzending Gemist’ (Missed Broadcast). “We had already developed a similar service, but it didn’t take off until we added an overview screen and the word ‘missed’.”

A decade ago, Jan Paul thought there’d be a huge revolution: everyone would be able to determine for themselves what they’d like to see at the time they preferred to see it. They would stop ‘passively’ consuming TV shows. “However, although linear programming may well disappear in the future, I think traditional TV will keep going strong for the time being. People simply enjoy relaxing at the end of the day, and don’t always feel the need to interact or be in the lead.”

Keeping costs down is vital to RTL’s business model. For a large part, this depends on advertising revenues and video requires a vast amount of - costly – bandwidth. The most efficient, reliable and cost-effective route to the end user is, therefore, through AMS-IX. “At first, I imagined, 50% - 70% of our traffic would go through AMS-IX, but we’re now at 95% - 98%! We’ve become one of the country’s largest Internet companies, and are amongst the very few linked to AMS-IX with 200GE capacity.”

One of a kind

“Personally, I’m very proud of having founded the Digital Productions department, which put RTL Nederland, from a technology viewpoint, on the Internet map. I’m also very pleased with the fact that AMS-IX has stayed at the forefront of technology developments. Henk is fantastic and the quality of the technology department is extremely high.”

Jan Paul Dekker, member of the AMS-IX Board from 2003 to 2007, began his career with RTL Nederland as Interim Manager Design & Technology, becoming Manager Digital Productions in 2004.