New CIM controlled distribution figures

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Distribution of Roularta Media Group’s media brands firmly entrenched thanks to intensive subscription policy for both print and digital

Roularta Media Group’s long-standing subscription policy, combined with intense efforts to attract subscribers through digital channels, has created exciting perspectives for the paid distribution of its media brands. Plus Magazine, the monthly magazine for over-50s, has experienced a substantial increase of 6.14% in a declining magazine market (-6.16%). The number of digital subscriptions to the news magazines is evolving in a highly positive manner. Libelle is still in the top 3 biggest weekly magazines in Flanders. The Free Press titles guarantee massive distribution all over the region.

The CIM (Belgian Centre for Information about the Media) has published the new brand reports with figures for the paid distribution of both daily newspapers and magazines. It distinguishes between the paid distribution of print subscriptions and digital subscriptions.

However this distinction no longer applies to news magazines.

Roularta Media Group is experiencing a major divergence between the news magazines, the Women brands and newspapers.

But let’s start with the publication that really stands out: Plus Magazine!

The distribution chart-topper in the Roularta portfolio is Plus Magazine, the monthly magazine for active over-50s, which has achieved an unprecedented growth of 6.14%, making it the only magazine in Belgium that is actually growing! Plus Magazine has a paid distribution of 116,595 print copies that are entirely responsible for this unique growth.

This result is due to significant efforts by the publisher both in terms of attracting subscriptions, editorial positioning and marketing initiatives. For example, this monthly magazine will be boasting a completely new, attractive appearance from 23 May onwards. What is more, there is also a big event on the subject of financial matters planned for this autumn. Plus Magazine is published by SPB (Senior Publications Belgium), the joint venture between Roularta Media Group and Bayard Presse.

Digital growth for news magazines

The news magazines Knack, Le Vif/L’Express, Trends/Trends-Tendances and Sport/Voetbal-Foot Magazine, the titles in the R News pack, are evolving towards a far larger total distribution thanks to the “New Deal”.

In the recent CIM report, the number of “digital only” subscriptions grew by 33% for Le Vif/L’Express, 31% for Knack, 24% for Trends-Trends/Tendances and 19% for Sport/Voetbal-Foot Magazine. Overall, at “print+digital” level, subscriptions for these magazines are evolving in line with the market that has noted a decrease of 6.16%, with the exception of Knack, where there has been a smaller decrease of 3.5% in print subscriptions.

The distinction between print and digital subscribers has no longer applied to the news magazines since the beginning of 2019, because all “print” subscribers have also become digital subscribers.

And thanks to the “New Deal” of Knack & Trends, Le Vif & Trends-Tendances (FR), all subscribers now have digital access to the 6 Belgian news magazines: Knack, Trends and Sportmagazine, Le Vif/L’Express, Trends-Tendances (FR) and Sportmagazine (FR). That means that they can read the six magazines digitally on their smartphone, tablet and PC and that they have access to the archives and websites, including the plus-zone for subscribers. That has led to a major growth in the number of digital readers.

Roularta Women Brands have maintained their market position.

Feeling is bucking the downwards trend and staying stable at 0.29% for print+digital. In the south, its French-language counterpart GAEL is evolving according to the trend for monthly magazines, i.e. a decrease of 4.40% (market average -4.84% for print+digital).

Libelle is still one of the largest magazine brands in Flanders, with a place in the top three thanks to a distribution of 152,752 (print+digital), but it is declining along with the weekly magazine market (-7% compared to the 6.16% market average). Its French-language counterpart, Femmes d’Aujourd’hui, is following the same market trend.  On the whole, Flair is decreasing more in the north than the south.

Since taking over these media brands last summer, Roularta has been investing intensively in attracting subscribers for Flair NL+FR, Libelle, Femmes d’Aujourd’hui, Feeling and GAEL. These efforts are provisionally reflected in hopeful figures that suggest a rising trend that will probably lead to a positive evolution in the following publication.

Roularta newspapers guarantee massive distribution of more than 3 million copies.
Taken together, 3,256,982 copies of Roularta’s Free Press titles are distributed in Flanders every week. They can boast a positive evolution of 8% thanks to the strong increase in the distribution of Deze Week (+25%), which has more than 2.5 million copies in Flanders.

De Zondag has remained stable (-2.5%), with a distribution of almost half a million copies to people in Flanders every Sunday.

237,611 copies of Steps are distributed in Flanders: it remains the highest print run of all magazine brands in Belgium aimed at women.

The paying weekly paper KW (Krant van West-Vlaanderen) is compensating for the 6% market decrease in print with an increase of 8% in digital subscriptions. In this way, KW guarantees a considerable paid distribution of 57,117 in print + digital in a single province: West Flanders.