2021 was a profitable year for big media groups, but local press suffered

2021 was a profitable year for big media groups, but local press suffered

The major Flemish media groups survived the health crisis and can look back at 2021 as a very profitable year, according to a report released on Monday by Flemish media regulator VRM, but the year was a gloomy one for the local and free press.

The big media groups in Flanders – DPG Media, Mediahuis and Roularta – also enjoyed good international growth last year, the VRM points out in its yearly report on media concentration in Flanders.

The local and free press, on the other hand, had a hard year in 2021. For example, the number of regional editions of the daily Het Laatste Nieuws fell from 24 to 15.

VRM’s annual survey on local journalism shows that the average number of private local news media fell from 2.26 per municipality to 1.84. The Flemish media regulator also pointed to increasing cooperation within the media sector in Flanders, especially in the area of advertising.

Five groups own 80% to 100% of the traditional media market

Faced with the strong advertising market position of international players and DPG Media, a national advertising agency (Ads & Data) was created last year, bringing together Telenet, Proximus, Mediahuis and Pebble Media.

In 2022, DPG Media reacted by taking over RTL Belgium, together with the Rossel group (Le Soir, Sudinfo, etc.). This acquisition allows the Flemish group to position itself on the national advertising market as well.

In the north of the country, between 80% and 100% of the market for traditional media products is in the hands of five groups: VRT, DPG Media, Mediahuis, Roularta and Telenet (via its subsidiary De Vijver Media).

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