DPG Media: 2020 results and outlook
Erik Roddenhof, CEO of DPG Media: “In so many ways, 2020 was a historic year for DPG Media. Because of the COVID pandemic, many of our 5,400 employees at DPG Media have had to work from home for more than a year now. We are so proud of the passion, commitment, and creativity they have shown in taking on that challenge. The pandemic had a considerable impact on advertising revenues during the first half of the year, but this was more than offset by outstanding results in our reader markets and online services. The crisis dramatically increased demand for high-quality information, inspiration, and entertainment and I am glad we were able to fulfill these needs with our strong media brands which enjoyed record audiences. Sanoma Media Netherlands, DPG Media’s largest acquisition so far, was successfully integrated into the group and contributed significantly to our financial results which recorded strong growth.”
In 2020, DPG Media’s revenue total came in at EUR 1.766 billion (+8%). EBITDA grew by 31% to EUR 339 million, while operating profit was EUR 254 million. Net profit amounted to EUR 178 million, a 39% increase.
DPG Media is active in publishing, radio, television & streaming, and online services in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Our 80-plus media brands reach more than 15 million readers, viewers, and listeners daily.
All of DPG Media's 16 national and regional news media brands enjoyed circulation growth in 2020, mainly driven by spectacular growth in digital subscriptions. DPG Media grew its total news media and magazine subscriber base to 3.6 million (+2%), which generated revenues of EUR 820 million. Daily online reach of news media grew significantly, mainly driven by news about the pandemic and US elections. Daily reach grew in the Netherlands to over 10 million daily visitors (+25%), led by our two main news platforms NU.nl and AD.nl. In Belgium, unique reach grew to 2.8 million daily visitors (+30%), with HLN.be taking the lead as the country's largest news brand. Reach grew in Denmark to 1.4 million daily visitors, and BT.dk became Denmark’s largest news site for the first time.
The Sanoma Media Netherlands acquisition was finalized in early April 2020. We hit the ground running, integrating and reorganizing business units straight away. Most of that work was completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, new digital platforms are being developed for the major titles – Libelle, Margriet, and Donald Duck – with launches planned for mid-2021. NU.nl content offering will be increased significantly.
Radio, Television, & Streaming
In September 2020, DPG Media partnered with Telenet to launch its own paid-for video service, Streamz. The launch was the final step in VTM’s transition from a television company to a full-service video and television provider. More than 3 million Flemish people watch our VTM channels, and use the VTM GO and Streamz video services every day. In the Netherlands, Qmusic celebrated its 15th birthday with outstanding ratings, and a market leading position for the first time.
DPG Media’s online services offer consumers advice, inspiration and objective product and service comparisons. Brands like Independer, Autotrack, Nationale Vacaturebank, Mijn Energie, and Tweakers help millions of people make informed choices in their daily lives. Insurance comparison site Independer grew its revenues to EUR 71 million (+13%). The service was also launched in Belgium in early 2021. The remarkable success of technology site Tweakers boosted turnover by more than 19%. Mijnenergie.be, autotrack.nl, and gaspedaal.nl also posted strong growth numbers. In the recruitment market, DPG Media launched 'The Booster' in 2020, an online tool that helps companies leveraging artificial intelligence to post targeted job listings across all media types. The first results and responses from advertisers are very encouraging. Total online services turnover ended at EUR 130 million (+10%).
Other activities such as commerce, mobile, printing, and distribution brought in EUR 345 million in turnover. Mobile Vikings, the telephony services company, was sold to operator Proximus for EUR 130 million in December 2020. The transaction is waiting for approval by competition authorities.
Advertising revenues declined in 2020 due to the COVID crisis. Each lockdown had a significant negative impact on ad revenues. Television and radio saw sharp declines, which were partially offset with good results in online advertising. Total advertising revenues amounted to EUR 471 million. In October 2020, DPG Media launched a new digital advertising platform, called ‘Trusted Web’. It is a proprietary digital advertising platform driven by quality content, great data and total transparency. DPG Media will continue to invest heavily in this initiative during the coming years in its fight against the global tech companies.
Christian Van Thillo, DPG Media Executive Chairman: “When the first lockdowns were announced and advertisers cancelled their campaigns en masse, we feared that 2020 would become a very difficult year. Reality proved otherwise. Our entire society has moved online during this crisis to find information, communicate, shop and work. The crisis actually accelerated existing trends, and our group, which has spent years investing in pushing digitalization forward, has reaped the benefits. Last year proved once again that our media matter and our strategy is working. We have focused on scaling up to be responsive and resilient, our digital transformation is well underway, and online services have become an important growth area for the group. We are looking to the future with confidence and hope to see our colleagues back in the office soon.”
Key DPG Media figures