Online Services: a digital success story
Last year De Persgroep designed a new structure for its Online Services. Since 1 March 2019 Lauri Koop is the CEO of the international division and Frederik Vanvoorden its CFO. Bart De Groote is the head of Online Services in Belgium, Coen de Ruiter leads Independer and Sander van den Hout heads the other Online Services in the Netherlands.
“De corebusiness van nieuwsmedia is communicatie”, stelt Lauri Koop. “Onze focus ligt op dienstverlening, gerichte content aanbieden en de consument begeleiden. Bijvoorbeeld bij de keuzen van de juiste auto, zorgverzekering, laptop of carrière.”
De enige weg is die van groei
Since 2012, De Persgroep has been actively developing a strong network of online services. “Since then, the portfolio has only grown, including Tweakers, Autotrack, Vacature, Livios and Independer. And with Mobile Vikings we are also offering mobile services since 2016,” says Lauri Koop.
But the hunger for takeover is not over yet. “We want to further expand the Online Services with relevant players in the market,” says Lauri Koop. “We seize the right opportunities when they arise, and are mainly looking for additions to our offer: players who can form a synergy with other actors in the group.”
“With Online Services, we achieved a global turnover of 104 million euros in 2018. We are even more ambitious for 2019. Including Independer we want to grow in 2019 to a turnover in excess of 170 million euros,” says Frederik Vanvoorden. “This also includes an expansion of our portfolio, the development of a common culture and finding more efficiency.”
All noses pointing in the same direction
With the acquisition of Independer, the digital comparison and advice platform for insurance, banking products, mortgages and energy, 300 collaborators are suddenly added to an organization that will become even stronger this year.
“This is why a new BeNe division has been set up with a focus on synergy and growth. We have every advantage in becoming a close-knit team across the national borders,” says Bart De Groote. “The biggest challenge is undoubtedly building a common culture. But we will be joining forces, learning from each other and maximizing the benefits of Medialaan-dPP. “
Services and information are intertwined
“We see many opportunities for linking services and information flows,” says Lauri Koop. “Anyone who buys a car via Autotrack will soon be able to take out his or her insurance through Independer. But there can also be a connection with the journalistic content, without affecting the journalistic independence. If Independer can help an editorial team with a clear overview of the best health insurance policies, then it seems logical that we will soon find a common ground. “
“In addition, all our online services need good content,” adds Bart De Groote. “Fortunately, we employ 1,500 content creators that we can use for this. Finally, the data of the visitors of De Persgroep newspapers’ sites are an invaluable source of information for the Online Services. It allows us to better guide readers with a purchase or during their search for a job.”
Tech sites are growing fast
Tweakers and Hardware.info have had a strong year. “The tech sites booked a combined turnover of 12.7 million euros. That is almost a million above target,” says Sander van den Hout looking back on 2018. “I am convinced that our customer-oriented working methods are the main reason for this success.”
“The Belgian online services have major growth ambitions too for 2019,”says Bart De Groote. “Livios, Tweakers, Spaargids, Mijnenergie and Vacature have a solid growth potential. We are far from reaching our maximum potential. In addition, there is still a lot of catching-up to do with Mobile Vikings. But our ambitions are by no means truncated.”