DPG Media’s turnover in 2022 was €1.83 billion, a slight increase of 1% compared to 2021. EBITDA was down 8% and came to €365 million. Net profit fell by 5%, to €200 million, while net financial debt amounted to €314 million (0.86 times EBITDA).
“A year of extremes”, that is how Erik Roddenhof, CEO of DPG Media, describes 2022. “While our publishing activities – news media and magazines – maintained stable revenues but struggled due to sharply rising costs, radio and television performed very well. All the same, the pressure caused by inflation and the uncertain economic context was felt throughout the company. Fortunately, we were able to absorb some of this pressure, limiting the impact on our result. As in previous years, we once again saw strong digital growth, which is paramount to achieving our digital transition and shows that we’re on the right track. That gives us confidence as we look towards the future.”
Sharply increased costs depress publishing results
Inflation, skyrocketing paper prices and increased distribution costs depressed the results of our publishing activities. Revenues stabilised and were comparable to those achieved in 2021, which was a record year for DPG Media. The publishing brands saw total subscriptions grow by 2%, to 3 million. Paid print circulation of news titles remained stable, despite further declines in single-copy sales and print subscriptions. Meanwhile, the number of digital subscriptions continued to grow steadily, by 14%. There will be further investments in this area in the coming years. Magazine circulation declined, mainly due to a bigger drop in single-copy sales. The exception to the rule was Donald Duck, which managed to grow its paid circulation by 3%.
Best results in last 20 years for radio and television
Radio stations Qmusic and Joe achieved their best ratings and advertising results in 20 years, as did television brand VTM and its streaming service, VTM GO. Qmusic Netherlands obtained a record market share of 20.4%, while Qmusic Belgium, Joe and Willy together achieved a record market share of 40.7%. The VTM channels ended the year with a 39% market share on television, while VTM GO now has over 800,000 monthly users. Bolstered by a strong advertising market, this performance among viewers led to a particularly strong result.
In 2022, DPG Media and Groupe Rossel completed their joint acquisition of RTL Belgium. In both television and radio, this creates promising opportunities to generate synergy between North and South in ways that will benefit both users and advertisers. DPG Media and Telenet will also continue to invest in the development of video platform Streamz, which has achieved a firm foothold among global players such as Netflix and Disney thanks to a wide range of top-quality local productions and foreign films and series.
Independer and AMV boost Online Services
DPG Media remains committed to growing and broadening its Online Services division. “We believe there’s a growing need for online services that help people make the right decisions when it comes to important family expenses. The annual growth in the number of users of our online service platforms underlines this. We are committed to deepening and broadening our Online Services portfolio”, says Roddenhof. Independer and Automotive Media Ventions (AMV) recorded especially strong results in 2022.
Digitisation of DPG Media continues apace
DPG Media’s digital reach remained strong, with over 15 million daily visitors. Particularly notable was the substantial growth in the digital reach of women’s brands Libelle, Margriet and Flair, driven by the launch of a shared online platform. The daily reach of these brands grew by 62%, to more than 730,000 users. The total number of digital subscribers grew by 14% in 2022, while digital advertising revenue was up 9%, exceeding €200 million.
The development of DPG Media’s own advertising network, Trusted Web, once again delivered on its promise. The development of Ad Manager (a marketplace that allows advertisers to buy ad space on DPG Media’s own network) is an important next step in DPG Media’s ambition to build its own high-quality and transparent advertising platform. Pilots with the new platform, which will be launched next summer, show promising results, with advertisers’ returns increasing by up to 30%. DPG Media continues to invest in the digitisation of its brands, editorial departments, products and services.
Outlook for 2023
“In 2023, the effects of high inflation, increased labour costs and steep paper prices will be felt throughout the year”, says DPG Media’s CEO, Erik Roddenhof. “This will further weigh on the bottom line. One of the biggest uncertainties is how the ad market will evolve in this difficult economic context. Continuing the digitisation of the group remains our top priority, but the efficiency of our operations will also receive significant attention.”
DPG Media switched to IFRS in 2022
In 2022, DPG Media switched to the international accounting standard IFRS, the mandatory framework for listed companies. The 2022 Annual Report reports the figures for both 2021 and 2022 under IFRS. The results differ from the ones previously reported using Belgian GAAP, in particular with regard to acquisition goodwill. According to CFO Piet Vroman, “The company has grown rapidly in recent years, and we felt that the time had come for DPG Media to make the transition to IFRS, so as to better align our reporting with the requirements of the financial community”.