4 years of De Pers

Yesterday, January 22, dutch free daily De Pers celebrated its fourth birthday. De Pers positioned itself as a ‘quality’ free daily and aimed to be the best-read paper in the country.

At the end of 2007 the paper had a circulation of 500,000 in a market with four free dailies. In 2008, circulation dropped to 370,000 while it decreased to 220,000 in 2009.

The economic crisis, fierce competition, disappointing ad-sales, and expensive experiments with a weekend edition, home delivery, a test with a financial paper and book publishing resulted in owner Marcel Boekhoorn trying to sell his paper to other publishers.

Cost cuts were made while founder Cornelis van den Berg was forced to leave in 2008.

In 2009 Boekhoorn closed a deal with regional publisher Wegener (part of the Mecom group) whereby Wegener prints and distributes the paper, while it also handles the advertising sales. Circulation was going up again in 2010, as Wegener wants to offer advertisers a nation-wide coverage.

Apparently the deal between Wegener and De Pers worked out better for De Pers than for Wegener. The publisher recently announced a €63 million write-off on the contract.

De Pers is now the third free daily in the Netherlands after Metro and Spits with an average circulation of 233,000 in 2010 and 660,000 readers (2009/2010).

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