DPG Media realised sales of 1.898 billion euros (+7%) in 2021, which translated into EBITDA growth of 22% to EUR 414 million. The net current profit was 228 million (+28%).
The group also recorded an exceptional capital gain of 117 million euros, which was mainly due to the sale of the mobile telecom company Mobile Vikings. Thanks to these results, bank debts could be reduced by EUR 339 million. The net financial debt is still EUR 242 million (0.6 times EBITDA). The tax burden came to EUR 87 million.
‘An exceptional result in an exceptional time’ is how Erik Roddenhof, CEO of DPG Media, describes the past year. ‘In a year that was still largely affected by the pandemic, news and entertainment media were again very popular with readers, viewers and listeners. Our Online Services also recorded growth in a society that is digitising at an ever-increasing rate. The significant investments made in recent years in the digital transformation of our media are now paying us handsome returns. In addition, the strong recovery of the radio and television advertising markets made an important contribution to our company's results. We achieved growth in all activities, leading to an exceptional group result. This gives us confidence for the future, even though we know we are facing major challenges.’
Radio & Television
For radio and television, 2021 was an absolute top year. The advertising markets for both media recovered and even hit new heights after a sharp decline in 2020. Together with the growth in viewers and listeners, this translated into a very good result. VTM achieved a television market share of 37.5%.
The VTM GO and Streamz video platforms now have more than 1.2 million users per month. DPG Media is a leader in video streaming in Belgium and aims to expand this position further with extensive investments.
In radio, it was Qmusic Nederland that turned in the strongest performance. The station grew to a market share of almost 20% (in the commercially interesting 20-49 demographic) and was by far the biggest radio station in the Netherlands. The Belgian radio stations Qmusic and Joe together achieved a market share of 35%.
A new milestone for DPG Media was the planned acquisition of RTL Belgium, together with media company Groupe Rossel. RTL Belgium is the market leader in commercial television and radio in French-speaking Belgium. This transaction is expected to be completed very soon.
For the news media, 2021 was also a good year. The 16 national and regional news media brands of DPG Media now reach over 14 million people daily.
The total number of subscribers grew to 1.8 million (+5%). This growth is driven by the increase in the number of digital subscribers to over 800,000 (+15%).
Striking was the strong profit growth of NU.nl that has been part of the portfolio since the acquisition of Sanoma Nederland. This was due to a growth in reach (+5%) and spectacular growth in advertising turnover (+28%).
Total digital advertising revenue grew by 25%. The successful introduction of Trusted Web, DPG Media's online advertising platform, contributed substantially to this. The platform offers advertisers a safe and high-quality environment in which they can advertise in a targeted manner. With this, DPG Media offers an alternative to the dominant and not very transparent advertising platforms of the Big Tech parties.
The Online Services of DPG Media continued to grow steadily in 2021 with 7% higher sales. With strong brands such as Independer, Mijn Energie, Auto Track, Nationale Vacaturebank and Tweakers, these specialised platforms help people to make better choices in their daily lives. The group continues to look for opportunities to expand even further. The need for reliable online guides will only increase in the years ahead.
The acquisition of the magazines from Sanoma in 2021 marked a new direction for these media. The number of readers of the magazines in print and digital is now on the up again (+6%), partly as a result of the digitalisation process of the magazines that was successfully started last year. Libelle, Margriet, Donald Duck, vtwonen, AutoWeek and Ouders van Nu have put a lot of effort into digitalisation, resulting in new digital products and services. The paid digital and print circulation is now over 2.1 million.
CEO Erik Roddenhof: ‘Like many other companies, we are struggling with rapidly rising raw material and energy prices, high inflation and a huge shortage of personnel. This will put pressure on DPG Media's costs and results in 2022. The results of recent years show that the chosen strategy works. We will continue to follow our current path with full conviction in the year ahead and have great confidence in our people. The horrific war in Ukraine will cast a dark shadow over 2022. The human suffering is immeasurable. The Russian invasion will leave deep wounds in the lives of very many people. We hope this horror will end as soon as possible.’
About DPG Media
DPG Media is active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark in radio & television, news media, Online Services and magazines. With over 70 media brands, DPG Media serves more than 15 million viewers, readers and listeners daily. DPG Media has 5836 employees, including over 2000 journalists.