Dutch advertising agencies start to recover, but competition is intense

Advertising by bike. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Revenues in the Dutch advertising agency sector totalled some €6.5bn in 2016. After posting double-digit losses from 2009 through 2013, coupled with loss of market share and several bankruptcies, the sector is beginning to recover, the Telegraaf said on Friday.

‘The fat years are definitely over,’said Dick van der Lecq, director of Amsterdam ad agency Etcetera and vice-chairman of the ad agency sector organisation VEA. ‘But we are now seeing that things have changed for the better,’ he was quoted as saying in the Telegraaf.

The Dutch ad world was out in force at the Cannes Lions Festival this week. ‘I’m not totally convinced that the ad world is doing so much better right now,’ said Eugene Roorda who has been in the sector since the 1970s.

‘The whole business model has been turned upside down. Everything has be be done for less money. If you employ freelancers or underpaid interns on every project you can be profitable.’

Ten years ago the market was dominated by big agencies, the scene is now fragmented, Roorda said. ‘Leading agencies had a payroll of 100 to 150 people. Now you’re a big agency with 10 to 15 full-time employees.’

According to a report by insurer Delta Lloyd there are now some 29,000 advertising companies in the Netherlands but 92% are freelancers. ‘In the past 20% of the agencies accounted for 80% of total revenues,’ said Van der Lecq. ‘Now many more agencies compete for a smaller share of the total.’

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