Media Gems Study Tour participants will get a briefing on the two-day Study Tour in Antwerp and Brussels, covering all major news media companies in Belgium. Get an overview of the market, what to expect, and what to look out for at each company we visit. All over a typical Belgian dinner, only 200 metres from the Antwerp Hilton.
CEO, Ads & Data, Belgium
Study Tour Guides
Readers First Initiative Lead, INMA, United Kingdom
Independent from DPG Media and Mediahuis, Mediafin is a joint venture by Roularta Media Group and Groupe Rossel. Mediafin publishes De Tijd (Dutch-language business news brand) and L’Echo (French-language business news brand). In recent years, Mediafin has also acquired a plethora of new and different
business lines, such as Content Republic, a custom content service for governments and companies in the business and financial services industry (both B2B and B2C markets); Bepublic, a journalistic PR bureau; and Bereal, a PR bureau specialising in real estate. Hidden gem to look out for: Their newsroom adventures into podcasts.
Groupe Rossel is a Belgian media group that publishes the newspaper Le Soir, but also owner of SudPresse, which is the market leader in French-speaking Belgium with its five regional dailies. Other titles of the Rossel group include the northern French regional newspapers La Voix du Nord, l'Union, l'Ardennais, Est Eclair, Libération Champagne, l'Aisne nouvelle, and Paris-Normandie. Through the Mediafin joint venture, the group is also co-owner of De Tijd, L'Echo, Sabato, and Vacature.
>> About Le Soir
Le Soir is the leading quality news brand in the French-speaking part of Belgium. With a base of 120,000 digital-only subscribers. Alongside its Web site and app, Le Soir has developed an important means of communication to reach its readers: newsletters. Le Soir offers more than a dozen to which readers can subscribe.
CXO (Chief Experience Officer), Groupe Rossel
Journalist, Le Soir, Groupe Rossel
Olivier De Raeymaeker
CEO of Le Soir Division, Groupe Rossel
12:30 - 13:30
Lunch at Groupe Rossel
Brasserie de la Presse, Rue Royale 100, 1000 Brussels
Groupe IPM, active in media and services, It is 100% owned by the Le Hodey family via the holding company La Compagnie de Developpement des Medias. In the press and internet news media, the group is co-leader in French-speaking Belgium with its daily press titles La Libre Belgique, La DH-Les Sports+ and L'Avenir. It also publishes the magazine titles Moustique, Paris Match Belgique and Courrier International. The group is also active in audiovisual, it invested in December 2021 in the news channel LN24, of which it owns more than 60%. It is also the publisher of LN Radio, which is broadcast via an analogue network and a DAB+ network, as well as in streaming. Hidden gem to look out for: Their strong investments and production value in video.
Notes about IPM brands:
>> La Libre Belgique
La Libre Belgique is the second-largest quality news brand in French-speaking Belgium, well known for its coverage of politics (national and international), business, culture and climate. 50% of its subscriber base is digital only.
>> La DH Les Sports+
La DH Les Sports+ is THE Belgian French-speaking daily newspaper for the general public and for sports. Every day, it asserts its quest for exclusivity and for enriched information, explained in a direct tone. It privileges the notion of service in the approach of the day's subjects. The Sports section is a leader both in print and in digital.
LN24 is a news channel that covers political and economic news, both nationally and internationally. They decode social movements and embrace sports and cultural events. LN24 verifies the information it publishes and offers a positive approach to news. LN24's journalists are at the heart of IPM's editorial teams, alongside those of La Libre and DH, to ensure a synergy. LN24's newscasts are now co-produced with the group's press titles. The news channel has a 1.2% audience share, and LN24 is, slowly but surely, moving towards its 3% target.
Founded in 1954, Roularta Media Group (RMG) is a quoted company with more than 1,300 employees and a total combined turnover of €300 million. RMG is the market leader in Belgium in the field of magazines (Dutch and French). Roularta created six Belgian news magazines: the weekly magazines Knack and Le Vif/L’Express, the general news magazines combined with lifestyle magazines Weekend Knack and Weekend Le Vif/L’Express and entertainment magazines Focus Knack and Focus Vif; the weekly business news magazines Trends and Trends-Tendances; and the monthly sports magazines Sport/Voetbalmagazine and Sport/FootMagazine. Roularta as also boasts lifestyle magazines: the weekly magazines Libelle/Femmes d’Aujourd’hui and Flair (Dutch/French) for a specific female target group; the monthly magazines Feeling/Gaël, Libelle Lekker and Libelle Nest (Dutch/French); and the monthly magazine Trends Style (Dutch/French), a lifestyle magazine for men.
Publisher News & Business, Roularta Media Group
Customer Journey, Data- and Paywall Expert, Roularta Media Group, The Netherlands/Belgium
17:30 - 18:00
Transfer back to Antwerp Hilton
On the 30-minute bus ride back to our home base at the Antwerp Hilton, we will debrief Day 1 and hear what attendees learned.
Mediahuis Group grew from being a Belgian media group with just a handful of news media brands to becoming one of Europe’s largest media groups, operating in five countries in Europe: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. During our visit this morning, INMA will learn from and visit Mediahuis brands: Het Nieuwsblad, Gazet van Antwerpen, Het Belang van Limburg, and De Standaard. We will also learn how Mediahuis manages collaboration between the different newsrooms as well as the data and business team. By September, they will be one year into a new all-bundling subscription offer “Plus”.
Notes about Mediahuis brands:
>> Het Nieuwsblad
Het Nieuwsblad follows current affairs from near and far. Not just the hard facts in politics, sports, and the economy, but also the human stories behind the events. This makes Nieuwsblad a unique, highly accessible popular newspaper that can be read by the whole family. With the extensive regional editions and an adapted version for the city of Ghent, called De Gentenaar, Het Nieuwsblad has an audience of 2 million. Hidden gem to look for: Their strength in sports coverage and consumer problem-solving journalism.
>> Het Belang van Limburg
Het Belang van Limburg is a true local hero with one of the highest market shares in their core region in Europe. The regional newspaper of Mediahuis Belgium for the Province of Limburg is rewarded for their regional investigative journalism and particularly high engagement with the community through User Generated Content and deep regional service journalism for the community. Hidden gem to look for: The unique citizen science project with the local university, where the newsbrand investigates societal problems on a broad regional level.
>> Gazet van Antwerpen
Gazet van Antwerpen is the biggest newspaper in the biggest city in Flanders: Antwerp. It aims to be the main news source for the city and all its inhabitants, without losing sight of national and international news. But Gazet van Antwerpen is much more than a city newspaper. With its three editions, it’s also the point of reference for the entire province. Hidden gem to look for: Their special coverage on the city's “war on drugs” and how that drives engagement and conversion.
>> De Standaard
Founded in 1918, Mediahuis’ daily De Standaard is one of the two Dutch-speaking Belgian quality newspapers. It has seen steady growth since starting the digital subscription journey by continuously experimenting with new storytelling formats. In 2022, De Standaard reached the point where the number of digital-only subscribers surpassed the print-only subscribers. Hidden gem to look for: Their early success in podcast journalism.
The story of DPG Media is not entirely dissimilar to that of Mediahuis: from a player on the Belgian market to owning over half the news media brands in The Netherlands and Berlingske in Denmark. The latest story of interest from DPG Media is a Belgian one: In the past five years, they have grouped all newsrooms — across brands and traditional platforms — into one big newsroom called “News City.” We will learn from DPG Media brands HLN, VTM, De Morgen, and others. DPG Media Belgium reached 9 out of 10 Felmish people (15+) with news, entertainment and online services; across 35 brsnds.
Notes about DPG Media brands:
>> HLN.be / Het Laatste Nieuws and VTM
Het Laatste Nieuws (in English: “The Latest News”) is a Dutch-language newspaper in Belgium. HLN.be, the digital version of Het Laatste Nieuws, is the number one news site in Flanders. It features 24/7 news with a focus on current events, sports, and entertainment. The editors keep their finger on the pulse at all times: on the news site a new article appears on average every four minutes. VTM is the largest Flemish TV channel and has been winning over Flemish viewers with surprising entertainment, top-quality fiction from the region, and high-profile current affairs programmes for more than 30 years. The newsroom has merged with that of Het Laatste Nieuws in recent years.
>> De Morgen
De Morgen is a Belgian Dutch-language daily newspaper. The newspaper has a left-wing background and initially had a free-spirited and idiosyncratic image, but now presents itself mainly as a quality newspaper. Founded in 1978, the newspaper has had a turbulent history with various owners and was at one point saved by its own readers from bankruptcy. Since 1989 it has been owned by DPG Media.
Deputy Chief-Editor HLN, DPG Media
Chief-Editor Sports, DPG Media
Guido Den Aantrekker
Creative Director Magazines Belgium & The Netherlands, DPG Media
During this final visit of this study tour, Thomas More researchers share interim insights from the ongoing UNTAPPED project and their preparation for the upcoming MediaGenie project.
In today’s dynamic multi-platform landscape, the creation of media content demands both substantial resources and endless flexibility. Discover the potential of (Generative) AI and its capacity to elevate the production process. Let’s explore the current eco-system of AI-driven content creation and repurposing tools. Key talking points during this presentation:
The diverse roles that AI can fulfill within the media production pipeline
Identifying compelling use-cases where AI can truly shine
Striking the delicate balance between human expertise and the capabilities of AI
Prompt engineering as an emerging skillset for content creators
UNTAPPED deals with the usability of technological tools, whether or not driven by AI, and strategies for content repurposing in media, (content) marketing and communication. Pilots were set up around four themes: (1) reformatting, (2) text to video, (3) text optimization, and (4) multiplatform publishing in order to assess to what extent the tools deliver on their promise - more efficiency without sacrificing quality.
In the upcoming MediaGenie project, we aim to provide a nuanced perspective on the role of generative AI within media & entertainment. Beyond the hype - or the panic. We focus on awareness of the possibilities and limitations of the technology, offering practical knowledge and shaping and testing creative, future-proof and ethical applications of generative AI within this domain.
Researcher, Thomas More University College
Researcher, Thomas More University College
17:45 - 18:15
Debrief of the Belgian Media Gems Study Tour
Get a debrief of the past two days and discuss the 2-day study tour with fellow participants.
18:15 - 18:30
Transfer to Antwerp Hilton
End of the Belgian Media Gems Study Tour
Questions? Contact INMA
Head of European Division
Tel.: +32 486 37 13 36