Highly profitable year for Flemish media groups
The largest Flemish media groups coped well with the corona crisis and even had a very profitable year in 2021. Local and regional press, however, are struggling. This was revealed on Monday in the report 'Media concentration in Flanders 2022' by the Flemish Media Regulator (VRM).
The major groups DPG Media, Mediahuis and Roularta saw strong growth internationally last year. Roularta was already highly represented in foreign markets, but with the acquisition of New Skool Media it also became the second largest publisher of magazine brands in the Netherlands. Mediahuis, too, managed to strengthen its presence abroad, according to VRM.
Small regional publications, on the other hand, are having a hard time, VRM announced. De Streekkrant, Steps and the Limburg door-to-door magazine Jet, among others, closed down. The distribution area of Rondom/Passe-Partout decimated and the number of regional editions published by national newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws dropped drastically from 24 to 15. VRM's annual survey of local journalism shows that the average number of private local news media per municipality dropped from 2,26 to 1,84.
Notably, the printed press in Flanders, which has struggled in recent years due to falling sales and advertising revenues, seems to be reversing that trend. Last year, among daily newspapers, almost all titles sold more newspapers (print and digital) than in 2020, according to Monday's report. On the other hand, all websites of the Flemish media groups experienced a significant drop in visitor numbers.
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