After DPG – formerly De Persgroep – and Mediahuis, Roularta Media Group is now also a third Belgian publisher, firmly rooting itself in the Dutch media market. It was announced this Wednesday that the company plans to acquire New Skool Media, a publisher with twenty-one media brands.
Although the company already owned some Dutch titles, such as More Magazine in Country life, the acquisition represents a significant expansion of the portfolio. Except newsmagazine THAT ONE For example, it concerns titles such as Look, Bike, Columbus Travel and some motorsport and motorsport publications.
New Skool Media, established in 2014 from Sanoma, employs about 170 FTEs, who together realize an annual turnover of more than 45 million euros. Within Roularta, almost 1,500 FTEs generate a turnover of 300 million euros.
THAT ONE, formerly known as Elsevier, is the most famous title now coming into Belgian hands. The magazine, founded in the months after the war as a relaunch of the occupation prohibited by the occupying forces Elsevier’s Illustrated Monthly Journal, quickly acquired a reputation as a personal magazine for the socially conservative and economically liberal Dutch.
Editor-in-chief Arendo Joustra is not surprised that his title is now in Belgian hands. “They have Knack al, kind of the opposite of THAT ONE in Belgium, so it’s not that illogical.”
Just a newspaper
What does it say about Dutch publishers that a magazine company like New Skool is not bought up by a Dutch party? Joustra: “Thanks to support from the Belgian government in distribution, they have a bit more cash, I think. What is most important to us is that it is a family business with a love for media and not a hedge fund or private equity.”
The appearance frequency of THAT ONE – a weekly newspaper – is not endangered, according to Joustra. “From a business point of view, it makes much more sense to be a weekly newspaper. You come out more often, so you can ask a higher amount from the subscribers.” At the same time, Joustra points out that it makes little difference to modern readers. “We function like a newspaper for them. We are therefore the only magazine in the Netherlands that sells subscriptions online.”
If the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM), the Central Works Council and the editorial board of EW agree to the takeover, it will be finalized in the new year.