NDC Mediagroep wants to get rid of 40 free local papers

The Northern Netherlands NDC Mediagroep wants to get rid of all door-to-door papers. RTV Noord reports this on the basis of internal correspondence at NDC. The publishing group no longer sees any prospects within the company for the 40 weekly and news magazines that it distributes in Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel and Flevoland.

The publisher of the Dagblad van het Noorden, the Friesch Dagblad and the Leeuwarder Courant, among others, wants to dispose of the door-to-door papers after an internal investigation, which has shown that making a profit from newspapers is hardly possible anymore. According to RTV Noord, this is mainly due to disappointing advertising income.

It is unclear for how many employees the decision will affect. There is a social plan, which the unions have agreed to. The plans would not have any negative consequences for the editors of both the Dagblad van het Noorden and the Leeuwarder Courant. Employees of the printing company would also be spared.

Dutch party

The sale of the weekly newspapers is said to be an important part of the remediation that was started after the Belgian newspaper publisher Mediahuis took over NDC last year. Mediahuis is a publisher of, among others, NRC and De Telegraaf. The company wants to get the loss-making NDC back on its feet and is giving itself until 2023 to do so. NDC itself has not been able to operate at a profit in recent years. In 2019, losses amounted to 10.7 million.

There would have been unrest within NDC about the disposal of the weekly newspapers. There would also be concern about the danger that newspapers will disappear permanently and that local journalism will be lost.

NDC CEO Koos Boot has informed the staff that NDC wants to get rid of all its weekly magazines and that it is not the intention to keep any of them. “A Dutch party that wants to take over the weekly magazines as a whole would be ideal, but it is impossible to estimate whether this will succeed”, Boot said in a letter to the employees. Boot informs RTV Noord that he realizes that “parties are not standing in line”.

He keeps open the possibility that a number of sheets will be preserved within NDC. “Not all magazines are created equal. Not in how they perform nor in the area in which they are distributed.”

Sad development

The NDC works council does not want to respond substantively to the plans. Works Council chairman Eelco van Tromp Boomsma points out that these are policy intentions. “It is a mindset and not yet a proposed decision.”

Secretary Paul Teixeira of the journalists’ union NVJ tells RTV Noord to be very concerned about the possible disappearance of the weekly newspapers. “We also see it in Noord-Holland and Limburg. There, too, publishers such as DPG and Mediahuis have alienated titles. It is a sad development that local media are disappearing as a result,” says Texeira.

“This clearing has thinned out the controlling task of journalism in the local area as well – think of municipal councils. The corona pandemic has only accelerated this development in 2020.”

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