Advertisers also object to merger plans of RTL and Talpa | NOW

After DPG Media, the association of advertisers (bvA) also objects to the merger plans of RTL Nederland and Talpa Network with competition watchdog ACM. That is what director Henriette van Swinderen says to The union fears a decline in TV offerings and more expensive commercials.

“TV is still the effective channel if you want to reach large groups of people at the same time. If two commercial parties merge, then that choice will probably be less and it will be less easy to reach those target groups. That is our primary concern,” explains bvA director Henriette van Swinderen.

In addition, the merger means that advertisers will have to pay more to get their commercials on TV. “We’ve seen that effect in other mergers and acquisitions in the past. You don’t have to be a scientist to know this is going to happen.”

There are alternatives such as digital, print, outdoor advertising and radio that advertisers can go to with their advertisements, but according to Van Swinderen they cannot compete with TV.

This is also apparent from this year’s figures. Advertisers are queuing up in front of TV and the commercial breaks are sold out. The prices that companies pay for their commercials have already gone up as a result.

More money for quality of programs

According to the bvA, there could also be an advantage to the merger: more money will be made available for RTL and Talpa to invest in, for example, the quality of the programs. That can also be interesting for companies that want to advertise around it. “Yet we see that it has not happened in the past. We have doubts whether investments will be made and the money will not flow back to the shareholders.”

Van Swinderen does indicate that her advertisers’ union has discussed this with both RTL and Talpa.

The BVA director also sees fewer options for viewers. “RTL and Talpa now have nine television channels together and there is a good chance that this will decrease after the merger because there is a lot of overlap.”

Advertisers important for RTL and Talpa

The bvA represents 132 advertising Dutch companies – they prefer to speak of brands themselves – and is committed, among other things, to the freedom of marketing and communication of these companies. Among the 132 companies are the 25 largest advertisers in the Netherlands, such as Unilever and the central government.

Television still appears to be an important medium for all these advertisers to be visible to the public. In 2021, the advertisers together spent more than 900 million euros on television channels. Advertisements are therefore still a very large source of income for RTL Nederland and Talpa Network.

When RTL and Talpa announced their merger plans last year, the bvA immediately announced that it would study them “very critically”. Subsequently, an official objection was lodged with the ACM.

The bvA explained the objection to ACM and showed with calculation models how dominant the position of the merged company would become. “ACM is now working with those figures to determine the policy. There were also individual discussions with a number of advertisers. ACM is very thorough in its information gathering.”

In January, the watchdog announced that further in-depth investigations into the mega-merger are needed, as previous investigations have shown that it has far-reaching implications for the media landscape.

DPG Media previously filed a complaint against the merger. The Belgian parent company of, among others, de Volkskrant, AD and considers it a threat to its radio station Qmusic compared to the large number of radio stations that Talpa Network owns.

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