The report, the second to be produced under new rules, looks at 10 media companies: TV services provider Alfacam; publishers Concentra, Corelio (publisher of Flanders Today), De Persgroep, Roularta and Sanoma; TV broadcasters VRT and SBS; and the two telecommunications companies Belgacom and Telenet, who provide not only internet access but also digital TV.
While there is no dominant player in the market as a whole, the various sectors are often dominated by one major interest. In radio, for example, the VRT has a 64% market share, and it takes 40% of the TV market – figures which are particularly important since the VRT is a public concern funded by taxpayers.
The newspaper market, on the other hand, is fairly evenly divided between Concentra (30%), Corelio (31%) and De Persgroep (38%). The issue here, which is not one the report dwells on, is not so much domination of the market as the difficulty of smaller operators competing with the three majors.
Internet is the most diverse sector, with six companies present. De Persgroep leads with 35.5% against Corelio’s 24.5%. The figures relate to the market share claimed by the companies’ websites, rather than internet service provision, where of course Telenet and Belgacom would tower over the rest.
• In figures released last week by the Internet Service Providers’ Association, it was revealed that there are 3,048,260 internet connections in Belgium, a slight rise on the previous quarter. Telenet has 1,085,000 internet customers, to Belgacom’s 1,057,000.
Broadband connections now account for 97% of all internet setups, but there are still more than 65,000 people who go online using old-fashioned dial-up at home, and 9,500 more who still use dial-up in their business.