2017 in BELGIUM
2017 in BELGIUM
“These are extraordinarily fascinating times in the media world.
Everything begins with the finding that consumer behaviour continues to change rapidly. Consumers want to be able to use and combine media products anytime, anywhere and in all their manifestations. We have to be omnipresent as media players. De Persgroep, which will be the 100 % owner of Medialaan, is the right response to this. Medialaan and De Persgroep will merge into a single company, with a single management. There´s no question that 2018 is going to be a special year for De Persgroep in Belgium.
Thanks to this merger we will possess a unique collection of talent and a beautiful portfolio of brands in television, radio, mobile, news media, magazines and online. Now it´s a matter of fully investing in content, brands, technology and data in order to be able to continue to offer the consumer and the advertiser the finest products.
In 2018 we are going to further strengthen, digitise and future-proof our existing media and products, and put our full weight behind accelerated digital growth.”
Medialaan and Persgroep Publishing becoming one
At the end of 2017 De Persgroep acquired all of Roularta Media Group´s shares in Medialaan. De Persgroep Publishing (Het Laatste Nieuws, Dag Allemaal…) and Medialaan (VTM, Qmusic…) – both one hundred percent owned by De Persgroep – are merging together into a single media company. The new organisation is currently assuming more definite form, with the goal of becoming operational before the end of 2018. The expansion of the participation in Medialaan is of great strategic value in Belgium. The merged company will employ 1,669 people and achieve an annual turnover of 625 million euros.
Qmusic and Joe are largest radio growers
Of all the Flemish radio channels, Qmusic and Joe grew the most amongst the general public (12+). In the last months of 2017 Qmusic rose from 11.1 to 11.8%. With an increase from 7.3 to 8.8%, Joe is by far the strongest grower. The total market share of the Medialaan radio stations has thus grown by 2.2%, from 18.4 to 20.6%. Amongst the 18 to 44-year-olds, Qmusic achieves a market share of 19.3%. Amongst the 35 to 54-year-olds, Joe scores 12%. Programme director radio Iwan Reuvekamp: “Qmusic and Joe are alive and kicking. Together they reach more than a million listeners every day.”
HLN continues to modernise and is breaking all records
With a daily reach of 2,009,200 readers and surfers, HLN is setting a record. That is more than one in three Flemings older than age 12. Absolutely no other European newspaper has a comparable proportional reach. Not even The Sun or the Bild-Zeitung. In Flanders HLN is the fourth most popular search term on Google. And strikingly: in contrast to most other Flemish news media, HLN does know how to appeal to the millennials and generation Z.
In April 2017 the weekend newspaper was thoroughly updated. The fresh layout and the relaxing reading matter put readers fully into weekend mode. These innovations are in line with the new campaign ´In the head. In the heart´. Not only the layout was renewed. Het Laatste Nieuws also launched four brand-new weekend supplements: Pluto, Chill, Lééf and Zap. Videos are being integrated into the articles more and more frequently, and surveys have shown that they are viewed attentively.
De Persgroep further expands online portfolio
In 2017 De Persgroep Publishing expanded its portfolio of online services by acquiring the portal site Livios, the reference work ´Verstandig Bouwen en Renoveren´ (‘Intelligent Construction and Renovation’) and the accompanying print-on-demand magazine ´Mijn Verstandige Verbouwing´(‘My Intelligent Renovation’). In this way De Persgroep continues to work on its strategy to fully invest in activities that constitute a perfect supplement to existing brands and which reinforce the digital future plans.
Livios, the portal site for builders/renovators and handymen, each month receives more than 500,000 unique visitors and has been the market leader in its segment for twenty years now. Each year, the free construction and renovation book ´Verstandig Bouwen en Renoveren´ helps thousands of builders and renovators with tips for every step in their building and renovation adventures.
In March 2018, De Persgroep Publishing took over the website mijnenergie.be, which is the largest Belgian independent comparison site for energy. Last year it was visited by no fewer than 900,000 consumers. The site has the quality label from the CREG (Commission for the Regulation of Electricity and Gas) and thus guarantees independence, impartiality and user-friendliness.
The daily reach of HLN.nl rose in 2017 by 15%.
Dimitri Antonissen (43) began his career at Het Laatste Nieuws 17 years ago. Since 2016 he has been – together with Frank Depoorter – editor-in-chief of the country´s largest newspaper.
This is not an algorithm. This is Daniël. He´s 83 and reads HLN digitally.
He’s calling because he’d like to read the newspaper digitally.
On his iPad.
Because Daniël´s eyesight is declining, but he can still read the newspaper on the bright screen of his tablet.
It’s our editorial office secretary who told me about his phone call.
Because Daniël appears to need some help installing the digital newspaper on his iPad, and because it´s not every day that 83-year-old digital readers give us a call, I decided one morning to drive out there early and visit him.
In Daniël´s kitchen we talk over coffee about the newspaper, the sports section, playing pool… and about his wife who died two months ago. While I install the app, he explains how important the newspaper is – now more than ever – as part of his daily rituals. A companion in the morning at the breakfast table. But he also talks full of fire about our news app – “that red one” – which he checks several times a day.
This year we achieved record figures: every day HLN reaches 2,009,200 readers, our number of subscribers (209,000) has never been so high and the app, with 349,634 users, is the largest in the country. But Daniël proves that, in so doing, we above all mustn’t think in clichés. There are 83-year-olds who scan headlines on HLN and read the newspaper digitally. Just like there are millennials who digitally detox on the weekend with a paper newspaper and a good espresso.
But Daniël also shows what an enormous difference there is between HLN and the big tech giants like Facebook or Google. Our readers aren´t algorithms, but people of flesh and blood. Who write us letters and leave reactions (200,000 every month), who see HLN as a companion and invite the newspaper in the morning to their breakfast table, who get angry when we sometimes make a mistake, but thank us with just as much passion when a story has moved them. Or with whom you can drink a cup of coffee together in Blankenberge. Try doing that sometime, Mr Zuckerberg