“RTL Belgium becomes one of the family
Kris Vervaet (50)
CEO DPG MEDIA BELGIUM SINCE 2018. PREVIOUSLY WORKED FOR EDF.
In June 2021, DPG Media, along with Groupe Rossel, acquired RTL Belgium. Kris Vervaet, CDO and CEO Belgium, told us what makes this duo so strong, and what their ambitions are for RTL Belgium.
DPG Media and Groupe Rossel took over RTL Belgium together. Why go for a fifty-fifty acquisition?
“DPG Media and Rossel really complement each other. We believe that together we can make RTL stronger, using what each of us has to offer. Rossel really knows Wallonia and is solidly anchored in the region. We have a lot of experience in radio and television, plus extended digital capabilities. With these collective qualities, we can strengthen RTL Belgium and bring it even closer to its consumers. We received positive responses to the fact that the acquisition of RTL involved two local market players, because foreign companies had also expressed their interest.”
Groupe Rossel is not unfamiliar to DPG Media.
“That’s right. We go way back.” He smiles. “For thirteen years we partnered to run Mediafin, which publishes De Tijd and others, and have already worked together extensively. We know each other well and there’s a lot of trust. You need that, if you want to be 50/50 shareholders.”
What ambitions do you have for RTL?
“First and foremost: RTL is a healthy company with strong brands to its name. We believe that in the coming years we can primarily strengthen RTL in its digital transformation, to use a fancy word. Consumer viewing, listening and reading is increasingly digital. DPG Media has invested enormous amounts in recent years in digitising its brands: not only digital apps and platforms for consumers, but also advertising tools for our advertisers. We are now in a position to make those tools, platforms and knowledge available to RTL Belgium. Playing our digital card to the fullest is the best way to arm ourselves against digital giants like Spotify and Netflix.”
“Secondly, we can also support RTL by making high-quality local content that appeals to Francophone Belgians. This is more like collaborating in the creative process. In the longer term we want to work more cross-media to build bridges, as we already do between VTM Nieuws and HLN. We’ve noticed that both VTM Nieuws and HLN have become stronger in the process. I really believe that this kind of cross-media collaboration will also make RTL stronger.”
What are the next steps in this process?
“After approval by the Belgian competition authority (BMA), we’re going to make a concrete action plan. We’re really looking forward to teaming up with the people at RTL, and putting our passion and expertise at their service. They’re going to be one of the family. We’re not planning on getting stuck at the idea stage. We want to be able to present something to the consumer by the end of this year.”