In Belgium there is no “national” newspaper. This is mainly due to the coexistence of three official languages. Moreover most newspapers only do well in their region of origin, which is sometimes limited to two or even one province. Consequently, only a combination of Dutch, French and German language titles can ensure a homogeneous national coverage.
Newspapers have been struggling in recent years with decreasing reach figures. This phenomenon is a little bit stronger in the South than in the North. Publishers have undertaken all kinds of actions to counter the downward tendency: newspapers have changed their layout and/or format, have been supplemented with newspaper magazines and are not only available in paper version, but also on the Internet, on mobile phone or tablet. The newspapers market has considerably changed: beyond paper, newspapers titles have evolved into news brands, through which editors try to reach new audiences, thanks to a cross-media approach.
2014 is marked by the creation of two new media companies: Corelio (De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad) and Concentra (Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg) joined forces and created the media company Mediahuis and Corelio sold Vers l’Avenir to Tecteo , a Walloon intercommunal.
Advantages of the newspapers:
- geographical flexibility (each region has its own newspaper)
- speed (compared to other media, very short technical and reservation deadlines)
- loyal reading public
- event-oriented editorial context (e.g. favorable for introductory campaigns)
Disadvantages of the newspapers:
- expensive frequency build-up
- high access threshold (advertising in newspapers is expensive)
- limited selectivity in light of scores of socio-demographic criteria
The rates of the newspapers are based on a modular rate in which the advertiser has the choice between different fixed modules. Other formats are also possible, but always on request. For a presence in their weekend edition some newspapers ask for a supplement.
To counter declining reach figures, editors have taken actions towards the advertising market. Example: the NP deals.