World Media in 2005: The Netherlands

Despite the phenomenal success of the exported Big Brother format and various other reality TV programmes, newspapers, not TV, are the most popular medium in The Netherlands.

Tourists flock to The Netherlands to visit the birthplace of world-renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Mondrian and Vermeer.

Today, however, the country's most famous cultural export is Big Brother.

The Dutch production company Endemol launched Big Brother in The Netherlands in 1999: it was an overnight success and, to date, has been reproduced in more than 30 countries.

It has spawned other home-grown reality shows, which have become more extreme. Three years after Big Diet in 2001 (where overweight people compete to see who can shed the most pounds), 2004's hit was Het Blok, a successful real-life soap combining reality TV with a makeover show. It involves four couples renovating an apartment, with the climax being the sale of the apartments at a public auction. The apartment that gets the highest price nets that couple 50,000 euros.

All eyes are now fixed back on one of Endemol's original co-founders, John de Mol, as he prepares for the launch of his new TV station, Talpa TV, in September 2005. The channel has bought the rights to screen the Dutch premier league, marking it out as a serious contender even before its launch.

TV in The Netherlands has a unique approach to public broadcasting: programmes are made by contributors representing different interest groups.

Its three public channels enjoy the lion's share of viewing, despite high cable TV take-up.

Yet TV lags behind when it comes to adspend and Dutch advertisers prefer magazines to TV - highly unusual. Sanoma dominates the local publishing scene. It publishes seven out of the ten most popular women's titles and also produces Donald Duck. The latter reportedly has a weekly readership of two million and is published under licence in several countries.

It is newspapers, though, that remain The Netherlands' most popular medium, attracting almost half of all adspend. Interestingly, while Dutch TV consumption has waned slightly, the time spent reading newspapers has increased since 1999. This may be due in part to the arrival of free titles such as Metro (published by Sweden's Modern Times Group) and Spits, produced by the owner of The Netherlands' most popular broadsheet, De Telegraaf.

The Netherlands is a keen supporter of the European Union and is likely to be the first country to hold a referendum on the Constitution in 2005.


USdollars million at current prices. All years based on US$1=

euro 0.89 *Estimated

News- Mag-

Total papers azines TV Radio Cinema Outdoor Internet

1992 2,378 1,275 527 405 77 11 82 0

1993 2,418 1,229 554 444 99 10 81 0

1994 2,649 1,328 599 521 107 11 81 0

1995 2,852 1,398 678 545 125 12 93 0

1996 3,154 1,534 747 603 152 11 107 0

1997 3,421 1,628 834 646 185 11 117 0

1998 3,807 1,830 932 707 200 12 126 0

1999 4,058 1,907 993 765 219 14 137 23

2000 4,435 2,009 1,062 884 266 15 157 43

2001 4,271 1,930 1,044 847 247 10 155 38

2002 4,157 1,807 999 894 259 8 155 36

2003 3,907 1,685 903 842 277 8 148 45

2004 3,862 1,620 877 854 279 8 150 74

2005* 3,926 1,635 879 871 284 8 151 97

2006* 4,047 1,685 886 898 293 8 156 121

2007* 4,146 1,718 896 920 299 8 159 146


1) Excludes production costs

2) Excludes agency commission

3) After discounts

4) Includes classified

5) Magazines include consumer and business titles

6) Includes expenditure by regional advertisers in regional media

7) Outdoor includes transport and ambient media



Newspaper: De Telegraaf (daily, 795,000)

Business magazine: Elsevier (weekly, 142,000)

Consumer magazine: Kampioen (monthly, 3,756,000)

Most-watched TV programme (2003): Football Euro qualifiers Netherlands

vs Scotland

Best new TV format: Het Blok


Circulation: Het Oplage Instituut

Readership: National Onderzoek Multimedia TV viewing SFO, GfK


Newspapers: Holddingmij. De Telegraaf, PCM Uitgevers

Magazines: Sanoma

Television: NOS (public), RTL, SBS


Media topic du jour - Talpa TV.

Reigning media guru and why - Alfred Levi, for his new and successful positioning between media and advertising agency.

Media mogul to be seen dining with and why - John de Mol, because of Talpa TV's launch.

Car to drive - Audi A6.

Top-selling beer brand - Grolsch.

Phone to carry - Doesn't matter, unless it's switched on.

Whatever you do, don't say ... "ICP". Integrated communication planning is the current buzzword in media planning. Everybody claims they work that way, but in the end, it's business as usual. Don't say it, just do it.

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