Corelio is getting back to basics

September 27, 2012 by  

In these challenging times the Belgian media house Corelio keeps investing in its newsbrands, both in digital and in print. The publisher of Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard strongly believes in the strength of newspapers provided that they focus on the real basics. Gert Ysebaert, Publisher Corelio, Belgium was the guest speaker during the INMA European conference 2012 in Hague.

Figures for European publishers haven’t been positive showing we have been in a dying business, but in Flanders it has been better, as the drops in sales are very low
(2012->2011 -5%).

In Flanders there are 5 big media companies, Corelio is one of them. They produce: newspapers, online, free sheets, magazines, radio, and television. De Standaard
sells 100.000 copies and reaches 244.000 unique visitors online. In the past 10 yrs they boosted the circulation of De Standaard. Het Nieuwsblad – the other title is
also dropping but now they are reversing the trend (in the past 2 yrs doing good +2% in sales). Unique visitors: 356,5 thousand – it is the second website in the
All traditional media are facing same challenges. :

  • digital shift
  • ROI for advertisers
  • free/paid content
  • social media
  • relevance for readers
  • economic crisis
  • new technology
  • information overload

They don’t have a recipe for a success, it is a matter of mindset and an attitude.

Important for Corelio is to get back to basics: people, innovation and brands. It’s nothing spectacular, yet it’s crucial for the future development.

Everything starts with people: team – integration – accelaration. It’s all about having top talent in team. They put a lot of effort in building such group of people.
Everyone in the team has targets: audience, revenues, bottom line. This helps transparency, there is no hidden agenda.

Corelio believes in integration and no wall principle. There are no wall between print and digital. They don’t want to have people left behind, working on print only.
There are also no wall between marketing and editorial – they work very close together. No wall between editorial and advertising (between editors and sales people -
editors often go to advertisers to show the product – they are aware of the importance of advertising). The newspapers manages to remain independent.

Acceleration. Sometimes it’s necessary to go faster. Especially in the digital. Digital competence center with the following functions: innovations (new products, apps and mobile), and traffic center (building traffic to the website, on the website and within all the websites inside the group). It’s outside the IT, but very close to

Innovation is also the key – Corelio is constantly innovating within the brands. Het Nieuwsblad – strong focus on the basics of the newspaper: news, sports and local. DNA of the product is to remind it’s the companion you can trust.

Sport Wereld was brought as an example – it used to be a seperate newspaper, now it’s a supplement within the daily newspaper. They introduced a sports website (leading one in Belgium), several apps and a free magazine.

Corelio goes further in the local approach: 16 newspaper edition, each edition with 7-10 regional pages everyday. They have 308 community sites. This way they strenghtened their local presence.

Yesterday they announced they would bring a new free magazine. Rondom, branded with Het Nieuwsblad – 2,5 million copies, free bi-weekly. 40 free mag editions. They want to be the local reference in the market and to be one stop shop for advertisers.
With De Standaard they try to be the first in everything they do: both in print and digital. They are basing on 0-1-7 strategy what means 3 levels: 0 – the website (snack moment), 1 – newspaper, 7 the weekend experience. Today all Corelio’s websites are free. It is a way of bringing people to newspaper.

The core business is the newspaper, but they don’t think of it only as a printed product. They want to bring the experience to digital – and they show it in the tablet
app. Innovation in that case is constant reinventing the newspaper. It’s all about the experience that is offered to readers.


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