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RTL advertising management: end clap for IP - Companies

RTL advertising management: end clap for IP – Companies

Now owners of RTL Belgium, the Rossel and DPG Media groups have decided to bury IP management to integrate its salespeople into their own structures. This unprecedented reorganization is already making people cringe.

It’s a big page that turns in the book of the Belgian media. After more than 30 years spent at IP (RTL Belgium’s advertising agency), including a dozen years at its peak, Denis Masquelier was sacrificed on the altar of consolidation, like “his” commercial enterprise. 100 employees which will be diluted in the existing structures of the new shareholders.

It’s a big page that turns in the book of the Belgian media. After more than 30 years spent at IP (RTL Belgium’s advertising agency), including a dozen years at its peak, Denis Masquelier was sacrificed on the altar of consolidation, like “his” commercial enterprise. 100 employees which will be diluted in the existing structures of the new shareholders. On March 29, the Belgian Competition Authority approved the equal share acquisition of RTL Belgium by the groups Rossel (Le Soir, Sudinfo, etc.) and DPG Media (VTM, Het Laatste Nieuws, De Morgen , QMusic, etc). The birth of a future “national champion” to stand up to the Gafa was then welcomed on the market but behind the scenes, RTL Belgium’s competitors were already dreading the emergence of a “super advertising agency” bringing together the living forces of the new allies. . In this scenario, IP would probably be integrated with Rossel and DPG Media, which would together form a single powerful entity with a “trans-community” advertising offer. If the option of a “super management” has not (yet) seen the light of day, the fact remains that the first effects of the absorption of RTL Belgium by Rossel and DPG Media are already being felt. Barely four weeks after the green light from the Belgian Competition Authority, the new shareholders are dismantling the IP department and separating from its boss Denis Masquelier. The commercials of the former management of RTL Belgium are not erased for all that: they “simply” leave their Brussels offices on avenue Georgin to join the buildings of their new owners according to a well-orchestrated distribution: the DPG Media Advertising management is preparing to welcome IP employees involved in the group’s national activities, while Rossel Advertising will take under its wing the sales representatives dedicated to RTL Belgium’s regional activities. Concretely, this therefore means that the DPG Media network will now offer large advertisers a truly national offer in the audiovisual sector with the VTM-RTL television package (not forgetting the radio stations) while Rossel Advertising will deal more with “small advertisers ” with the marketing of regional spaces of RTL Belgium, coupled with its own press titles. “It is not yet the ‘super management’ announced, observes this media specialist, but in fact, the strike force of DPG has accelerated badly with this new national axis in terms of commercial offer. audiovisual plan, so it’s already a ‘super management’ in itself!” On the competition side, we are not really happy with this strategic redistribution of the cards, especially since the trio DPG Media-Rossel-RTL Belgium represents more than 40% of the national advertising market (excluding digital). “I am surprised that the Belgian Competition Authority could have been so naive in thinking that the marketing of the offer, in this consolidation, would remain segmented by market (French-speaking and Flemish, Editor’s note), tackle Yves Gérard, CEO of RMB, RTBF’s advertising agency. Today, DPG Media has taken the advantage and becomes the sole national operator for the marketing of its Flemish and French-speaking channels.” The new firepower of this press group chaired by Christian Van Thillo is also making media agencies cringe, fearing that they will be even more under the yoke of DPG Media. “As a buyer of commercial space, you find yourself faced with a very big seller who has mastery of many media on both sides of the linguistic border, with know-how and ambition, notes Bernard Cools , chief intelligence officer at the media agency Space. We will have to hang on against a super powerful player who has a huge inventory, and therefore an incredible negotiating position. DPG Media has all the levers to increase prices. has not hesitated to do so already for this year and it will therefore be in a position to do so for RTL and its radio stations in the near future. Same story with other players in the sector: with a truly national offer, DPG Media and its ally Rossel are in fact able to exert more pressure on media agencies and large advertisers so that a maximum of budgets now granted to them. “Together, the new owners of RTL Belgium could very well organize the market to deprive the competition of certain opportunities, deplores this media boss who prefers to remain discreet. They are today in an ultra-dominant position which gives them the possibility of to offer national packages and offers coupled with, why not, exclusivity clauses which would prevent major advertisers from going elsewhere.” According to our information, certain competitors of Rossel and DPG Media are in the process of preparing an appeal before the Belgian Competition Authority in view of this sudden commercial reorganization around RTL Belgium. Potential complainants have until May 29 to file their case (a two-month period is in fact provided for lodging an appeal with this independent authority), even if the chances of challenging the initial decision seem slim. Beyond the new commercial strike force that the allies Rossel and DPG Media are already putting in place, there are also certain relationships and working methods that raise some questions. Privileged partner of the RTL Belgium channels, the IP network also markets the spaces of third-party groups such as TF1 in television for its broadcasting in Belgium or N-Group for its Nostalgie radio. “For 33 years, we have been in management at our biggest competitor with whom we have nevertheless established a relationship of trust, notes Kim Beyns, COO of N-Group who will become CEO at the end of this month. IP is a real partner who likes the Nostalgie brand and the fact of moving now to Rossel, who does not have this experience in radio, feeds us with great concern about the human dimension of our future relations. Finally, the dissolution of the IP network and the mergers set up by the new owners of RTL Belgium suggest a possible strategic takeover by DPG Media, even at the editorial level. In Flanders, the press group has in fact developed synergies between the editorial staff of VTM, Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen, which are all united within a single News City in Antwerp. If this merger project does not yet exist between the French-language editorial staff of Le Soir, Sudinfo and RTL Belgique, the probability of such an initiative cannot however be ruled out… “without it necessarily emanating of Rossel!”, dares this media specialist. “We know that the commercial dictates the measure, he continues, and as DPG Media has taken the lead in this consolidation, we can expect that the Flemish group will also have a say in the editorial section of RTL. Belgium, especially if the commercial results do not follow. President Van Thillo could therefore very well put pressure on Rossel to have the best possible return and this could ultimately involve the development of a French-speaking News City. This would even have a certain consistency, if only for an economy of scale.” A wacky scenario? Have. The soap opera of the new RTL Belgium, Rossel-DPG Media version, has only just begun…

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