Talpa Network has definitively said goodbye to the plan to launch a new news brand in the market. According to Paul Römer, managing director tv and radio, it's not possible to make something like this profitable. "That's why we said: if we want to do something with news, let's do it with our existing program Hart van Nederland," he said in the MediaMatters radioshow on New Business Radio.
During the reorganization, as a result of the corona crisis, it was decided to stop setting up a new brand within Talpa Network. Paul: "We looked at what you could do with news that nobody does yet, but in the end we came to the conclusion that we already had a very nice news brand and that is Hart van Nederland". In the end, the concept of the program just needed to be redesigned, says Paul: "We have strengthened the editorial staff, changes have been made to the presentation, the studio has changed and we have added an online environment. Now you see the program scoring very well again".
News agency ANP
Römer sees no synergy between Talpa Network and the news agency ANP, which was bought by John de Mol more than two years ago. "The ANP is simply one of the companies that John has bought in recent years. The news agency has always had a separate status. The ANP is independent, stands alone and runs on its own. It's just another pearl on the chain".
At the beginning of last year, Paul Römer was already a guest at MediaMatters. He was about to say goodbye to the NTR. Paul: "I met Pim Schmitz (CEO of Talpa) outside the studio and we went for a beer afterwards. That led to a series of fun conversations and an offer". By the way, Talpa is not an unknown party for Paul. In the past, he has worked with Pim Schmitz and John de Mol on programs such as Big Brother and Eredivisie Live (now Fox Sports Live).
Despite his move to a private company, Paul still has a positive outlook on public broadcasting: "I've been working in the media for 30 years, 15 of which in the public sector. I have always loved public broadcasting, because I think it is a very beautiful institution that makes great programming of high quality". He also absolutely doesn't see public broadcasting as a direct competitor: "The beauty of the Dutch TV and radio system is that the public and commercial broadcasters are symbiotic, they complement each other. You hardly see that in any other country".
The threat to Talpa therefore comes mainly from abroad. Paul: "In the field of radio, the American parties that want to dominate the digital listening market are the major competitors. I'm talking about companies like TuneIn, which has almost half of the digital listening market. The data and advertising they sell are not transported through the Dutch ecosystem. That's why, it's important to make sure that as a broadcaster you have something to say about your own distribution. Don't hand this over to third parties so that you become dependent on them".
The most important innovation Paul sees within the media is the possibility to sell targeted ads with the signal you send digitally. Paul: "That's a big development that you can use to open up fundamental new markets. And it gives you a greater chance of survival compared to the American parties". Talpa is currently working with KPN on a trial around this principle for television. This will allow you to see different commercials in Eindhoven than in Amsterdam, for example. Paul: "This is technically incredibly complicated, so it cannot be applied on a large scale tomorrow, but it will certainly happen in the coming years.
Finally, Paul emphasizes that the strength of Talpa lies in its creativity and content creation. Paul: "The question for the future is how to make sure that what you make reaches the user in the best possible way. If that works, then you always have revenue. If you can bind the user to you then you can also sell your commercials.
Listen to the entire interview with Paul Römer below (in Dutch):