History

Mediahuis was founded as a joint venture of Corelio and Concentra, two companies with a rich history in the Flemish and Belgian press sector. Since Mediahuis was established on 1 January 2014, the group has also made major steps into the Dutch market. After the takeover of the Telegraaf Media Groep in 2017, VP Exploitatie joined as a third shareholder group.

1879

Het Algemeen Belang der Provincie Limburg

  • Het Algemeen Belang

On 6 December 1879 Nicolaas Theelen in Tongeren publishes the first issue of the local weekly newspaper Het Algemeen Belang der Provincie Limburg. Theelen is a publisher and journalist and owns a drawing and office supplies shop with his wife Eugenie Michiels and a commercial printing company, Sint-Maternus.

1891

First edition of Gazet van Antwerpen

  • Gazet van Antwerpen

On 3 November 1891 the first edition of Gazet van Antwerpen is published in Antwerp on the banks of the Scheldt river. The initiator is Jan-Baptist Napolitaan Van Os, who has a commercial printing company in the city. In the first year of publication, the newspaper has an average circulation of 7,600 copies a day. Barely four years later, that number has risen to 40,000. Van Os sees his newspaper mainly as a means ‘to spread Catholic ideas’ and a ‘battle tool against the Beggars’.

1893

Jules Vander Voordt

  • De Vlijt
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

De Vlijt is founded and the name of Jules Vander Voordt appears for the first time. He is a socially engaged man and becomes one of the driving forces behind the newspaper. The bachelor Vander Voordt dies in 1895 but leaves part of his fortune to De Vlijt making it possible to expand Gazet van Antwerpen.

1896

Gazet van Mechelen

  • De Vlijt
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

The Gazet van Antwerpen gets a subsidiary, the Gazet van Mechelen. At the start of the First World War the newspaper had a circulation of 121,800. It was not published during the war.

1914

First World War

  • Het Algemeen Belang

Between 1879 and 1914, Nicolaas Theelen publishes other weekly magazines. At the outbreak of the First World War he stops the publication of his magazines because he refuses to publish under German censorship.

1914

Creation of De Standaard

  • De Standaard

The first attempts to publish a Catholic, Flemish daily newspaper in Brussels date back to 1914 when, under the impulse of F. Van Cauwelaert, A. van de Perre and A. Hendrix, nv De Standaard is founded.

1918

Frans Theelen

  • Het Algemeen Belang

Nicolaas Theelen dies in July 1918 but his youngest son Frans is determined to continue his father’s life’s work. Frans Theelen launches five new weekly magazines and moves the printing- and publishing house to Hasselt in the 1920s.

1918

First edition of De Standaard

  • De Standaard

Due to the war, the first edition of De Standaard is not published until 4 December 1918; it has two pages and costs 10 centimes.

1919

Own printing company De Standaard established

  • De Standaard

In July 1919 the company buys a building on Jacqmainlaan in Brussels, where the first newspaper printed on its own presses is published a year later.

1921

The inter war period

  • De Vlijt

Alfred Somville takes the helm of De Vlijt and will manage the company until 1957. Under his policy, both the newspaper and the weekly Zondagsvriend, the publishing house and the commercial printing business boom.

1921

Antwerp edition of De Standaard

  • De Standaard

In 1921 De Handelsbode, an Antwerp edition of De Standaard is launched, later renamed Morgenpost. To increase the output of the printing presses further, other printing orders are collected from 1922 onwards.
As a result of these expansions, more money is needed, provided by Gustaaf Sap, who has been a member of the board since 1919.

1927

Het Nieuwsblad

  • Het Nieuwsblad
  • De Standaard

Sap acquires the majority of the shares in 1927 and two years later launches a daily newspaper with a more popular tone: Het Nieuwsblad. Het Nieuwsblad is a success from the start and in 1939 takes the popular Sportwereld under its wings.

1933

Dream becomes reality: Het Belang van Limburg

  • Het Belang van Limburg

Frans Theelen achieves his father’s old dream: he merges the weekly magazines into a daily newspaper, Het Belang van Limburg. The newspaper enjoys steady growth and actively participates in Limburg’s general emancipation and economic development.

1940

Second World War

  • Het Belang van Limburg

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Frans Theelen follows his father’s example and stops the publication of Het Belang van Limburg. At that time, the circulation is approximately 18,000.

1945

The Hier group

  • Het Belang van Limburg

Het Belang van Limburg restarts. In 1949, Frans Theelen launches the advertising magazine Hier Tongeren, the precursor of a door-to-door magazine network that will later have 10 editions.

1945

Post-war growth

  • Gazet van Antwerpen

Gazet van Antwerpen is not published during the Second World War, but immediately afterwards it enjoys a boom period. The magazines Kleine Zondagsvriend and Vrouw en Huis are launched. The company invests in new printing presses and in 1964 takes over the commercial printing company De Nieuwe Antwerpse Persen. The newspaper opens local offices in Brussels, Turnhout, Mechelen, Leuven, Kortrijk and Sint-Niklaas.

1947

Back after the war

  • De Standaard

De Standaard Group emerges damaged from the war years because the printing presses do not roll again for Het Nieuwsblad-Sportwereld and De Standaard until 1947. The newspapers regain their drive and De Standaard again becomes the leading voice  it had been before the war.

1953

Concentra Drukkerij

  • Concentra

Concentra Drukkerij is founded and Jan Baert takes over the management of the company. There are multiple investments in new machines and the company has to move to larger premises a few times.

1957

Acquisitions and further growth

  • Het Nieuwsblad
  • De Standaard

At the end of the 1950s, De Standard Group starts expanding and takes over a number of other newspapers.

In 1957, the Antwerp publishing company of Het Handelsblad is acquired. After the take-over, the newspaper becomes a localised edition of Het Nieuwsblad before finally disappearing in 1979. In 1957, the Standard Group acquires its main Brussels competitor, Het Nieuws van den Dag, which then also merges with Het Nieuwsblad in 1965.
The expansion is completed in 1959 with the take-over of De Gentenaar and De Landwacht as well as their printing works. After the take-over, De Landwacht will disappear as a title. Today De Gentenaar has its own editorial team responsible for urban and regional reporting, while the general news is taken from Het Nieuwsblad.
In the 1960s and early 70s, the company develops into a strong player in the newspaper, magazine, printing and book market. The company invests heavily in new publications and machines. CEO Albert De Smaele also diversifies into non-media companies, particularly in the tourism sector.

1970

Newspaper history

  • Concentra
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

Gazet van Antwerpen writes Belgian newspaper history with a publication that has a record 64 pages. This achievement is repeated nine years later with a publication of 80 pages.

1971

Death of Frans Theelen

  • Concentra

Frans Theelen passes away in February 1971, the year in which the foundation stone was laid for the Concentra building on Herkenrodesingel in Hasselt. The first issue of the four-colour door-to-door magazine Jet is also published this same year.

1973

Four colours revolution

  • Concentra
  • Het Belang van Limburg

The new building is opened. In the same year, Het Belang van Limburg is published in four colours for the first time, a first in Belgium.

1974

Gazet van Antwerpen leaves the city

  • Concentra
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

In 1974 De Vlijt takes a majority stake in Antwerpse Post, publisher of the oldest continuously named, door-to-door magazine in the city. Later that year De Vlijt does something no Antwerp citizen had thought possible: it takes Gazet van Antwerpen from its premises in Nationalestraat and moves to a new location on the Antwerp left bank of the Scheldt.

1976

Vlaamse Uitgeversmaatschappij

  • VUM
  • De Standaard

In the mid-1970s, Albert De Smaele’s expansion drive is too ambitious. Like so many companies, De Standaard Group cannot escape the fatal consequences of the economic crisis at the time.

In May 1976 the commercial printing company nv Periodica is declared bankrupt and on 22 June the rest of De Standard Group follows. The editorial staff sees the storm brewing and sets up the non-profit organisation ‘De Standaard editorial team’ a few weeks before the bankruptcy to safeguard the group’s traditions against buyers.

On 26 June 1976, André Leysen joins forces with a number of Flemish entrepreneurs to create the Flemish Publishing Company (VUM), which rescues De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad and De Gentenaar from bankruptcy.

1979

VUM: Move and implantation

  • VUM
  • De Standaard

The market situation for newspapers is not positive in 1976. VUM rejects the weekly magazines, focuses all its efforts on the newspapers and moves from Jacqmainlaan in Brussels to Groot-Bijgaarden in Flemish Brabant in 1979, where new buildings and presses have been installed. VUM considerably increases its market share in a stagnating market through editorial efforts, an increased number of pages and better alignment of the newspapers to their respective target groups.

1989

Diversification

  • Concentra
  • De Vlijt

The 1980s and 1990s are initially a period of successful diversification for De Vlijt. The company acquires a stake in the commercial channel VTM in 1989. It participates in Vacature and in the Antwerp regional TV channel ATV in the early 1990s. Wrong policy decisions, however, create company problems in the mid-1990s and lead to a take-over by Concentra in 1996.

1989

Innovation and diversification

  • Concentra
  • Het Belang van Limburg

Concentra continues to grow in the 1970s and 1980s and the circulation of the newspaper rises to 100,000. When Jan Baert dies unexpectedly in 1986, his son Peter takes over the management of the company. Concentra reaches a period of great innovations and diversification: in 1989 it co-founds the commercial channel VTM, in 1994 TV Limburg starts broadcasting and in 1995 Het Belang van Limburg becomes one of the first newspapers in Belgium to go online. In the same year, Concentra acquires a stake in the Leuven internet security provider NetVision, with the company entering the stock exchange in 1999 as Ubizen.

1994

Take-over of Het Volk

  • VUM
  • Het Volk

The acquisition in November 1994 of nv Het Volk is a first important milestone in the history of VUM.
The roots of Het Volk go back to the congress of Catholic politicians in 1890 where it was decided to set up a daily newspaper in Ghent as a counterbalance to the successful socialist publication Vooruit. The first edition of Het Volk rolls off the presses on 22 June 1891 and is sold after Mass as an ‘anti-socialist newspaper’.
The Ghent newspaper focuses on sports, in particular cycling races. In 1945 the cycling race Omloop Het Volk is held for the first time.

At the end of the 1980s, however, Het Volk is struggling. In September 1994, the ACV management confirms that a buyer is being sought for Het Volk. Most Flemish media groups show interest but in November 1994 VUM emerges as the winner.
The printing activities and editorial team of Het Volk move to Groot-Bijgaarden in November 2000.

Het Volk is published for the last time on 9 May 2008 and the newspaper merges with Het Nieuwsblad.

1996

Regional focus

  • Concentra
  • De Vlijt
  • Het Belang van Limburg
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

After the merger of Concentra and De Vlijt, the Regionale Uitgeversgroep is founded in 1996. The company mainly focuses on its regional strengths. Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen are the flagships of a media group that is the market leader in the provinces of Limburg and Antwerp.

1997

Market leader in door-to-door papers

  • Concentra

The Regionale Uitgeversgroep and Roularta are uniting their door-to-door newspapers, De Weekkrant and De Streekkrant, under the DSDW joint venture, thus becoming the absolute leader in the Flemish door-to-door papers market. This is a position that will be strengthened further in 1999 with the launch of De Zondag.

1999

Printing centre

  • Concentra

The new pinting centre opens in Paal-Beringen. The company’s own newspapers and a large number of third-party publications are printed on four state-of-the-art presses.

1999

Médiabel: majority share

  • VUM

In 1999, the Vers l’Avenir group changes its name and becomes Médiabel. The shareholding also changes considerably. Médiabel is now a shareholder in Les Editions de l’Avenir (daily newspapers), Passe-Partout (door-to-door papers), the Centre d’Impression de Rhisnes, Radio Nostalgie and Audiopresse (which owns 34% of RTL-TVI).

In 2006, the diocese of Namur decides to sell its 25.1% shares in Médiabel. VUM buys the shares and becomes sole owner. In 2008 Corelio absorbs Médiabel.
Initially, Médiabel only focuses on regional newspapers, but the group gradually diversifies into other sectors such as audio-visual activities and the internet.

2000

Metro

  • Concentra

Following foreign examples, in 2000 the Regionale Uitgeversgroep launches the free Metro newspaper distributed throughout Belgium via stands in stations.

2002

Regional television

  • Concentra

Acquisition of the East Flemish regional channel TV OOST. With three TV channels in its portfolio, TV Limburg, ATV and TV OOST, the group becomes the strongest player in the regional TV market.

2003

Regional television

  • VUM

Acquisition of ROB-tv, the regional broadcaster for the district of Leuven, the eastern part of Flemish Brabant.

2003

Concentra Media

  • Concentra
  • Het Belang van Limburg
  • Gazet van Antwerpen

The name Regionale Uitgeversgroep is changed to Concentra Media. Hebbes is launched the same year, a multimedia platform for classified ads. Ads from Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen can now also be consulted online.

2006

Birth of Corelio

  • Corelio

In June 2006, in the week when the VUM celebrates its 30th anniversary, the board of directors decides to operate under a new name from 1 September 2006: Corelio.

The first part ‘core’ refers to the essence: a media presence at the core of society, the heart of the regions. The second part ‘relio’ refers to ‘reliable’. The new name emphasises not only the solidity and quality of the group’s products, but also the trust it enjoys from customers, business relations and partners. Finally, ‘lio’ refers to ‘link’. Corelio emphasises the importance it attaches to dialogue and interaction with its customers and partners in the broadest sense of the word: readers, internet users, listeners, viewers, advertisers…

2008

Concentra in the Netherlands

  • Concentra

The Dutch year of Concentra: the group acquires all shares in De Trompetter, the publisher of a door-to-door paper network in Dutch Limburg and North Brabant. With Mercurius Beleggingsmaatschappij a majority share is taken in Regionaal Televisie Netwerk Limburg, the operator of the regional channel TV Limburg (Netherlands). Concentra also takes over all editions of Typische Uitgaven, a door-to-door paper publisher in East Netherlands.

2008

Consolidation and diversification: Nevada-Nimifi

  • Corelio

Corelio’s graphic division acquires an important foreign client portfolio with the take-over of the Nevada-Nimifi heat-set rotary printing company. In 2011, the printing company in Erpe-Mere and Nevada-Nimifi are housed in a unified corporate structure under the name Corelio Printing.

2008

Nostalgie

  • Concentra
  • Corelio

In the spring of 2008, Corelio and Concentra start a new radio network in Flanders, under the name Nostalgie. Initially Nostalgie works with provincial broadcasting licences in West Flanders, East Flanders, Antwerp and Flemish Brabant. When Limburg is also supplied, this leads in 2012 to recognition as a national radio broadcaster.

In the French-speaking part of the country, Radio Nostalgie, a joint-venture between Médiabel and the French radio network NRJ, has been active since the late 1980s.

2010

New business centre Concentra

  • Concentra

In the autumn of 2010, Concentra’s new Business Centre in Antwerp is completed. All Antwerp activities of the group are housed in the building.

2010

Coldset Printing Partners

  • Concentra
  • Corelio

Corelio and Concentra organise their coldset printing activities together in Coldset Printing Partners, with headquarters in Groot-Bijgaarden and Paal-Beringen. Both companies consider it important to structure future investments in new printing presses in the best way, partly in view of new digital and mobile developments. As a result, efficiency improvements and economies of scale are possible and format changes can be implemented more easily in the future.

2011

De Vijver Media

  • Corelio

In April 2011, the Finnish media company Sanoma and the top management of De Vijver (Wouter Vandenhaute and Erik Watté), Corelio acquires SBS Belgium, the parent company of the television channels VT4 and Vijftv, now renamed VIER and VIJF. The production house Woestijnvis and the weekly magazine HUMO are included in De Vijver Media joint venture, of which each of the partners owns one third.

2013

Rondom and Proximag

  • Corelio
  • Het Nieuwsblad

In January 2013, the editors of Het Nieuwsblad and L’Avenir each launch their own new free local magazine: ‘Het Nieuwsblad-Rondom’ in Flanders and ‘Proximag-Lavenir.net’ in French-speaking Belgium. The new magazines are distributed door-to-door and together they have a circulation of more than 3,500,000 copies.

2013

Corelio and Concentra join forces

  • Concentra
  • Corelio
  • Mediahuis

Corelio and Concentra set up Mediahuis together. The news brands of both publishers (Gazet van Antwerpen, Het Belang van Limburg, De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad / De Gentenaar), the classifieds activities (Jobat, Hebbes, Zimmo, Vroom, Koopjeskrant) and also The Bulletin, the free magazine Jet, Content Connections and the websites Xpats, She, Vief, Autokanaal and the Made in’s are given a place in the new media company.

2015

Mediahuis takes over NRC Media

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis Nederland BV, subsidiary of the Belgian Mediahuis, takes over NRC Media Holding. NRC is the publisher of the NRC Handelsblad evening paper, the morning paper nrc.next, nrc.nl and various webshops and apps. With this acquisition, Mediahuis is gaining a strong foothold in the Netherlands.

2017

Mediahuis stronger at multimedia level and in the Netherlands

  • Mediahuis

A number of companies and participations, which after the establishment of Mediahuis remained with Corelio and Concentra, are transferred to Mediahuis. This concerns Media Groep Limburg (MGL), publisher of De Limburger, radio station Nostalgie, regional TV stations ATV, TV Limburg, TV Oost and ROB TV, Printing Partners Paal-Beringen and Brussels and the participations in Mass Transit Media (Metro) and De Vijver Media (SBS with the TV stations VIER, VIJF and ZES and the production house Woestijnvis). These steps strengthen Mediahuis’s position in the Netherlands and on the audio-visual market in Belgium.

2017

Mediahuis acquires Telegraaf Media Groep

  • Mediahuis

After long negotiations, Mediahuis takes over the Dutch Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG). With this transaction, Mediahuis stabilises its position as a leading multimedia group in the Netherlands and Belgium. VP Exploitatie is the third shareholder.

2017

Mediahuis enters partnership with WPK

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis enters into a strategic co-operation with Wayne Parker Kent (WPK), one of the fastest-growing digital media companies in the Netherlands, specialising in the development and publishing of online media brands.
Later in 2017, WPK also opens a branch in Antwerp, from where the Flemish editions of a number of its successful online magazines operate.

2017

Mediahuis joins forces with Jellow

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis enters a partnership with Jellow, the Dutch online matching platform for freelancers. Jellow focuses on freelance employment; this makes the platform complementary to Jobat, which is dedicated to the market for permanent employment.

2018

Mediahuis and De Vijver Media re-sign partnership

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis and Waterman&Waterman announce their intention to sell their shares in De Vijver Media to Telenet. The latter thus becomes owner by 100% of the TV-channels VIER, VIJF and ZES, the advertising company SBS and the production house Woestijnvis.

2018

New radio broadcaster NRJ

  • Mediahuis

SBS Media Belgium, a collaboration between Mediahuis and De Vijver Media, is starting FM broadcasting of a new Flemish radio from Antwerp, aimed at active city dwellers: NRJ. Via core cities in all the provinces, the channel has a theoretical FM reach to 65% of the Flemish population. NRJ aims at active listeners (target group 14-44), and focuses on their lives and popular music in the Flemish cities.

 

2018

Mediahuis takes over Themamedia

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis has acquired 100% of the Themamedia shares, which is a part of the Primetime Communication Group, and has been publishing a wide range of products in the free press, in the display, door-to-door and digital sectors, since 2007. The geographical focus is on the regions of East Brabant and Limburg. Titles such as Themanieuws, Actueel, De Smaakgids, Themadeluxe, Zin in het Leven and numerous local papers in the Hageland are part of the Themamedia portfolio.

2018

Mediahuis acquires 100% shareholding in Wayne Parker Kent

  • Mediahuis

Mediahuis and Wayne Parker Kent (WPK), one of the fastest-growing digital media companies in the Netherlands, reach an agreement in principle concerning the takeover of WPK by Mediahuis. Both parties will join forces focusing on the Dutch advertising market.