Media Concentration & plurality: focus on the Netherlands

posted on 05 January, 2022   (public)

Digital transition and increased media concentration: key trends from the Dutch Media Monitor 2021

The Dutch Media Monitor closely monitors media developments in the Netherlands and provides insights into media concentration, media plurality and independence of the media since 2001.

The Media Monitor is an annual report by the Dutch Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media - CvdM), on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In the 2021 report, the CvdM takes a look at media consumption and media companies in The Netherlands. 2020 was a pivotal year for the digital transition and for media concentration in the Netherlands.

The arrival of the coronavirus and the accompanying measures have strongly influenced the media use of the Dutch. But despite temporary increase in consumption of traditional media, the digitization of media use continues:
*Picture © CvdM

  • Streaming is going mainstream and media companies are going cross-media.
  • The digital transition demands cross-media scale to compete with Big Tech. More paying subscribers and the ability to offer targeted advertisements to non-paying users who leave their login details could guarantee the survival of Dutch media companies.

At the same time, striving for scale creates increased concentration, which could jeopardize diversity and independence.

  • In 2020, Belgium based publisher DPG Media acquired publisher Sanoma and media concentration has reached a new level. DPG Media now owns most of the popular Dutch news platforms.
  • In 2021, Germany-based commercial broadcaster RTL Group (Bertelsmann) announced its intention to acquire Dutch commercial broadcaster Talpa Network. If this merger is approved all popular Dutch commercial audiovisual platforms are owned by RTL. After an unprecedented concentration in the publishing sector, a media giant in the field of audiovisual media now seems to be emerging in the Netherlands.

In the Media Monitor 2021, the CvdM analyses these developments and discusses possible consequences of this concentration. The Dutch Media Authority also provides several recommendations for maintaining a healthy media landscape in the Netherlands. In the coming years, the CvdM will continue to monitor the consequences of increasing media concentration on media diversity.

Source: Commissariaat voor de Media