Dutch newspapers lose print subscribers, gain on internet

Dutch newspapers are booking lower print sales while reducing costs but digital subscribers are going up, the NRC said on Tuesday, quoting national newspaper association NDP.

The NPD, which represents some 40 newspapers, says Dutch papers have been losing ground in terms of print sales for years.  In total, they had combined turnover of €859m last year, a 4% decline over the previous year.

This was largely due to a drop off in advertisements while subscriptions accounted for 78% of sales. In 2000, advertising income represented 60% of revenues.

The good news, NDP said, is that many readers are switching to digital subscriptions. Moreover, advertisers are also moving over to the online editions of the papers. The NDP says that 57% of readers rely on the online version of the paper for news, but 47% still read a printed newspaper on a daily basis.

The NDP also says that Dutch public broadcasters are offering ‘unfair competition’ to newspapers despite attempts by former junior media minister Sander Dekker to limit this.

The NDP has joined a lawsuit to limit the remit of NPO Plus, a paid public news broadcaster and is calling for a level playing field, claiming government-funded public broadcasters distort the free market.

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