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Annual Report 2015

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Report of the Executive Board


Composition of the Executive Board

Geert-Jan (G.J.E.) van der Snoek (1965)

Geert-Jan van der Snoek was appointed CEO effective 1 July 2014. He began his career as a naval officer, moving to the business sector in 1995. As a consultant and in his position as Director with companies such as KPMG and Merx Enterprises, he managed a large number of new businesses and change management projects in the media, financial services, retail, and entertainment sectors, among others at Schuitema and Getronics. Before he joined TMG, he was CEO of the NDC Media Group. Van der Snoek completed his MBA at Groningen University.

Leo (L.N.J.) Epskamp (1962)

Leo Epskamp was appointed CFO effective 1 September 2014. He has a great deal of experience in the media world. He occupied various financial positions at Reed Elsevier, and as partner and auditor at KPMG, he managed several national and international teams in the media sector. He also worked as Investment Director at NPM Capital and as CFO at ERIKS. His last position prior to his appointment at TMG was CFO of the NDC Media Group. He studied economics at the University of Amsterdam and is qualified as a chartered accountant.


Our people

Our employees are our key assets: they make our media, they achieve sustainable results, and they enable us to meet our ambitious goals. As far as our employees were concerned, 2015 was a year of two halves. On the one hand, we had to cope with the inevitable human effects of the reorganisations that were announced and implemented. On the other hand, we paid a great deal of attention to further developing talent, promoting internal cooperation, and attracting and developing the new competencies we will need to successfully pursue our 24/7 strategy.

Focus on personal development

To implement our new strategy successfully, we will need people with the right knowledge and skills. That is why knowledge growth and personal development were high on our agenda in 2015. An important part of this drive is our People Make Media (Mensen Maken Media: M3) programme. Launched in 2015, M3 is designed to help and encourage employees to develop specific knowledge and skills that will enable them to make a direct contribution to achieving our strategic goals. M3 also serves as a tool for identifying relevant competencies, and for monitoring career growth and succession. TMG’s newly formulated core values – collaboration, innovation, customer centricity and integrity – recur as themes throughout M3. The programme is open to everyone: managers, talents and other employees. In 2015, the programme started with the top 120 executives, because of the key role they play in implementing the strategy. They followed a dedicated leadership programme, with assessments (conducted by Ebbinge) and interactive leadership sessions. In addition, we also set up the TMG Executive Leadership Programme, in association with Nyenrode Business University. This is a one-year program for the top 50, which started in the year under review. In 2016, M3 will be further expanded with programmes for other executives, employees and talents.

We also invested in individual development (training and coaching). The sums spent on this in 2015 amounted to more than € 1.5 million (2014: € 1.1 million; 2013: € 0.9 million). In addition, we contributed to the training of young people: 163 trainees gained work experience within TMG.

Young talent as change agent

The managements of the various business units selected internal change agents: young, talented employees working on strategic change projects. These young talents not only gain broader experience, but they also get additional development opportunities. The reactions are positive. A number of these change agents have now become project leaders. In this way, deploying change agents can boost employability, knowledge and quality.

In the year under review, Young TMG, the network of young TMG colleagues, organised several innovation and knowledge sessions, including a field trip to London and various work-shadowing opportunities outside TMG.

Reorganisations

The rapid changes in the market forced TMG to make a number of major adjustments, based on its new 24/7 strategy. During the year, the organisational structure was fine-tuned and made more efficient. At the end of 2015, positive advice was obtained from the Works Council with regard to the announced reorganisations within the editorial staff of TMG Landelijke Media. At the end of 2015, positive advice was also obtained on the restructuring of our printing plants, which will take effect in 2016. The purpose of this is to respond to the overcapacity in the shrinking print market and make the cost structure more flexible. In addition, a large number of reorganisations were carried out within the business units, following the relevant Works Councils' positive advice. For more details, see the reports of the respective business units.

These reorganisations (partly completed in 2015 and to be fully completed in the first six months of 2016) resulted in the loss of about 450 jobs, while also creating room for some new competencies thanks to new activities based on the 24/7 strategy.

Extension of the Social Plan

TMG’s Social Plan expired in mid-2015. However, given the ongoing and anticipated reorganisations, the Social Plan will be extended. This will be done in consultation with the unions. The extended plan applies to those reorganisations for which advice was requested from the competent representative body before 30 November 2015, and for which advice was received no later than 31 December 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2015, discussions started on a new Social Plan for TMG, to take effect on 1 January 2016. The new Plan will focus on encouraging and assisting people as much as possible to find other employment.

CAO developments

In mid-2015, the new Collective Labour Agreement (Dutch acronym: CAO) for the publishing sector came into effect. Besides a wage increase of 1% (effective 1 July 2015), one of the most important consequences of this agreement is the introduction of a Personal Choice Budget for employees (effective 1 January 2016). This enables employees to take advantage of a number of flexible working conditions of their own choice. The budget for this arrangement in 2016 has risen by 2%.

In 2015, agreement was also reached on the CAO for journalists working for door-to-door newspapers. Based on this agreement, a wage increase of 1% was granted as of 1 July 2015. It was also agreed that the journalists in question would be covered by the CAO for the publishing industry as of 1 January 2016. Talks on the transitional provisions were still in progress at the end of 2015.

Discussions on the CAO for the graphics and media sector (‘Grafimedia’) initially ran aground. Pending further developments, TMG retroactively paid its Grafimedia staff the same structural wage increase as agreed in the other collective labour agreements. At the same time, together with other newspaper publishers with their own printing plant, talks were started with the unions to transfer TMG’s own Grafimedia population to the collective agreement for the publishing sector. At the end of 2015, an agreement was reached for the entire graphics sector about the Grafimedia CAO. This CAO will run for 29 months.

In total,1,515 TMG employees are covered by a CAO.

Absenteeism stable and in line with the market

Absenteeism increased from 3.9% in 2014 to 4.2% in 2015, which was mainly caused by the extensive restructurings. The number of reported accidents rose from 1 in 2014 to 2 in 2015.

At the end of 2015, we called in external assistance to improve and accelerate the process of returning to work in complex and prolonged cases of absenteeism. This will shorten the period of absence and reduce the risk of employees becoming partially incapacitated for work in the sense of the Dutch WGA Act. In addition, we received advice on improving the design and implementation of our absence management. The results of this qualitative analysis are being translated into concrete action points, which will be implemented in 2016.

COR

‘Renewal is needed’

An organisation that is constantly changing − that is the reality that TMG's Central Works Council (Dutch acronym: COR) faced again in 2015. Departments were reorganised, new initiatives were developed, and a number of colleagues were made redundant.

The main topic throughout 2015 was the restructuring of the printing plants. The main topic of discussion throughout 2015 was the restructuring of our printing plants. The request for advice was dealt with by a preparatory committee of the COR, in which Rotatiedrukkerij Voorburgwal and Drukkerij Noord-Holland were represented proportionally. It was no easy task: it was time-consuming and, at times, emotional.

In 2015, the COR was also occupied with the subject of pensions, as TMG wishes to set up a new pension scheme and is considering transferring all pension matters to an insurer. This process took longer than expected. Another item on the COR’s agenda was the reorganisation and renewal of our IT systems. In addition, a Hotline for Integrity and Inappropriate Behaviour was completed in 2015. The related policies and regulations were established with the COR’s consent.

The COR liaised regularly with the Executive Board, both formally and informally. It also spoke with various members of the Supervisory Board. On a number of occasions, the Executive Board modified its decisions in the light of the COR’s views. The COR strongly believes that, in the current situation, doing nothing is not an option: innovation and profitability are essential. What is more, TMG needs to be a good and attractive employer for talented people – employees who are eager to develop and grow within our company, as well as people just starting out on their careers. That is what the COR stands for.

Pension scheme

During 2015, the Central Works Council’s Pensions Committee was consulted on changes to the company pension scheme. It was decided to maintain the current pension scheme in 2016, while consultations with the Pensions Committee about changing the scheme in 2016 continue.

COR: dialogue between TMG and employees

The Central Works Council (Dutch acronym: COR) protects the interests of employees and the company, keeping a critical eye on those interests. It understands that the continuity of the company depends crucially on innovation and profitability. In 2015, the COR conferred regularly with the Executive Board, both formally and informally. It also spoke with several members of the Supervisory Board. Topics discussed in 2015 included the restructuring and reorganisation of TMG, especially the printing plants, the pension scheme, the renewal of IT systems, and setting up the hotline for integrity and inappropriate behaviour. (See also the COR text box.)

Safety as a key focus area

In 2015, the Netherlands National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security judged that the country was faced with a substantial threat, partly because of events such as those in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands that directly affected the media industry. TMG clearly accepted its responsibility, taking focused measures, ensuring that the level of security within and surrounding the company was in line with the situation prevailing elsewhere.

Increasing labour participation

In 2015, we started exploring the possibility of making jobs available at TMG for people who have become distanced from the labour market. This is not only in response to new legislation in the Netherlands (Participation Act), but especially due to our resolve to increase our social value. In 2015, TMG therefore joined forces with De Normaalste Zaak (a national NGO promoting inclusive employment) and its regional network (99 van Amsterdam). In November 2015, we organised a Meet & Greet at our offices in Amsterdam, preceded by an information session for employers. Recruiters and HR advisors (e.g., from Rijksmuseum, IBM, ABN AMRO and the City of Amsterdam) were able to meet dozens of potential workers with an employment disability.

Reflecting our target groups

TMG strives for a workforce that, as much as possible, reflects the people we reach with our media. This will enable us to make our content even more appropriate to them and their daily preoccupations.

Composition of the workforce

The average number of FTEs in 2015 was 2,117 (2014: 2,351). The average age of TMG employees is 44.7.

At the printing plants, the number of female employees is traditionally low. This has a significant effect on the overall male:female ratio within TMG.

Employee turnover

20151

20141

Employees joining

219

233

Employees leaving

455

525

  1. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.

Distribution of employees by age1

  1. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.

Distribution of employees by gender1

  1. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.

Distribution of senior management positions by gender1 2

  1. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.
  2. Senior management positions are all positions as of Hay Scale 3.

Distribution of top-level positions by gender1 2

  1. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.
  2. Senior management positions are all positions as of Hay Scale 3.

In 2015, 31% of our employees worked part-time. Of these, 27% were male (with an average part-time percentage of 80%), and 73% were female (with an average part-time percentage of 72%). Part-time employees, or those with a temporary contract, enjoy the same working conditions within TMG as employees with a full-time permanent contract.

Distribution of permanent and flexible employees (year-end)

2015

2014

Employees

2,230

2,506

Freelancers (editorial)1 2

1,593

1,919

Other freelancers and flex workers2

321

288

  1. Active freelancers with a contract and a recent active contribution, excluding Keesing Media Group and Sky Radio Group.
  2. Excluding the foreign activities of Keesing Media Group.

Using a flexible layer of freelancers fits in with TMG's HR policy, which is designed to help us achieve the objectives of our new 24/7 strategy.

Outlook for 2016

Growing our brands will be one of our main focus areas in 2016. This drive will be supported by Human Resources. Another continuing priority will be to develop the skills we need to successfully carry out our new strategy. For this purpose, the M3 programme will be continued, particularly focusing on the Executive Leadership programme and talent development. In addition, extra attention will be paid to creating an innovative and inspiring company culture.


The world around us

Information technology, with all its applications, has made our lives easier. At work, in our social life, whenever we need healthcare – in all these areas, IT removes burdens and increases efficiency. It has brought us convenience, prosperity and connectivity, in all parts of our lives. As a result, the pace of life has become faster than ever before. And the digital revolution is far from over: technology continues to develop rapidly, bringing innovative applications and opening up new opportunities. In this dynamic world, TMG is taking up the challenge to become – and remain – a successful 24/7 media company.

Thanks to global, ever faster networks, it only takes a few seconds for content to reach the consumer. With the rise of the internet and social media, the range of content has exploded. Anyone can publish information: on Twitter, YouTube, a blog or Facebook – there are no thresholds. More and more companies are convinced that ‘Content is King’. Creating and distributing content is no longer restricted to media companies.

Paul Jansen

‘Through social media, rumour can fast become truth’

News in the 21st century is real-time. It can’t go any faster. And the amount of news on offer is more than we have ever had. Yet this sheer volume also creates a degree of shallowness. At the same time, it gets more difficult to verify news sources. In essence, every citizen with a mobile phone with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram has a potential platform at their disposal. Through social media, a rumour can fast become truth. The impact is not only local. With no limits on reach, any news can easily go global.

Here we see an important role for professional journalism. In this age of information chaos, the need for reliable news provision is growing, as well as for professionals who know how to judge, rank and interpret the almost inexhaustible news flow.

I'm convinced that we shall see a rise in the value of professional journalism in the coming years – not in the least because the world has become our backyard – a backyard where unrest and distrust are currently rampant. Journalism is not stronger than ‘nature’. But it can make sure, by providing interpretation and context, that we retain a realistic, accurate picture of the world.

Paul Jansen, journalist and editor-in-chief at De Telegraaf

Beacon in the information society

It is precisely in this dynamic environment that we see great opportunities. With our strong brands, we can increasingly serve consumers by becoming their guide in an uncertain information society. We can convincingly claim and demonstrate this role, not only due to our years of journalistic experience, but also because we know a lot about our customers, thanks to our robust data templates and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. With our reach and our scale, we are par excellence able to create innovative content and deliver it to all consumers – young and old –  whenever they want. In that way, we can provide them with what they want when they want it. That is the convenience consumers want – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – and we can provide it.

At the same time, we are aware that we operate in an unruly market. Indeed, consumers decide how, where and when they hear, see or read information. The time when newspapers were the only beacon in the world of news lies far behind us. Today, consumers select the content they want à la carte, with a combination of print, online, video, audio and events. In addition, they are looking for ‘experiences’. A piece of text alone is no longer enough. For the younger generation in particular, film and video are the norm. We want to reach these Millennials through our media and brands. And we can. That is why, in 2015, TMG initiated more activities relating to online media, OTT (Over The Top) content and video, precisely to appeal to an even wider audience.

Online advertising spend on the rise 

It is therefore not surprising that interest in print news and entertainment is declining. That is why we are also seeing a shift in the choices made by marketers and advertisers. Thanks to advanced CRM programs, advertisements can be targeted and distributed much more accurately. This gives advertisers an opportunity to develop a more personal offering. In addition, there are now many more touch points, with consumers always being online, on their PC, laptop, tablet or phone.

These trends emerge clearly in the market research done on advertising spend. Within the growing online segment, mobile and programmatic were the fastest growers in 2015.

Society is changing

As a large media company, we are in constant contact with society. In our content, we reflect what matters to our audiences. At the same time, through our content, we influence the social agenda. We are aware of this social role: after all, with our brands, we reach many millions of consumers and large communities. This awareness has only grown stronger over the past year, partly because of the significant developments and events that directly affect society and our sector, such as the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

In a society that is noticeably becoming less compassionate, qualities such as diligence, transparency and involvement take on even greater importance. The responsibility for these qualities lies with our editorial teams, each of which applies and monitors its own values, journalistic freedom and integrity. To support our teams, in 2015, the group integrity policy was standardised and updated, including all regulations and codes to enforce this policy. More information about this is included in the section Sustainability and materiality .


Ambition and strategy

TMG aims to serve as many Dutch-language consumers as possible with high-quality, customised and relevant content in the fields of news, sports and entertainment. We do this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Consumers determine in which form, through which channel and at which time they receive our content. That is why our readers, our viewers and our listeners are at the heart of everything we do. We wish to inform, surprise, inspire and connect them, with a focus on speed, intensity and dynamics. By entering into cross-media partnerships with complementary content providers and advertisers, we aim to further expand our customised offering, increasing our added value for all links in the chain.

Our strategic objectives

To realise our ambition, we have formulated three main strategic objectives:

  • To strengthen our key brands and create enhanced domain positions
  • To increase consumer reach
  • To generate sustainable returns.

The strongest media company in the Netherlands

To achieve these strategic objectives, we focus on several pillars:

Focus on consumers, key brands and core activities

At the heart of everything we do are the wishes and requirements of consumers, whom we reach through our strong, well-known key brands. By working together with partners, by developing new cross-media content and by applying modern ‘big data’ technology, we continuously learn more about our target groups, on the basis of which we strengthen our propositions. We proactively investigate potential partnerships for new distribution models (including digital) and new revenue models that we would be unable to set up independently.

Accelerated digital growth

Digital growth not only links in with consumers’ changing behaviour, it also leads to an expansion of our key brands, a further expansion of our reach, and an enhancement of our consumer data. This enables us to increase our added value for both consumers and advertisers and to strengthen loyalty and retention.

Developing new payment and marketing models

Thanks to our knowledge of media consumption and consumer preferences (across all channels), we are able to develop targeted payment and marketing models, so that consumers will only pay for the content of their choice, while advertisers can perfectly match their messages to what appeals to their target group.

Increasing efficiency

By raising cost awareness, creating synergy between business units and external partners and, where possible, implementing cost reductions, we increase our effectiveness and flexibility. We continuously invest in upgrading, improving and renewing our IT systems, thus creating room for innovation and better content.

Investing in people

Our people are the crucial link in creating our content and empowering our brands. Together, we work to achieve our ambition. We encourage continuous personal development and entrepreneurship, and offer a challenging working environment in which customer focus, innovation, integrity and collaboration are key.

Doing business sustainably

Doing business in a socially relevant way contributes to our identity, ensures social embedding, makes TMG an attractive employer and warrants our credibility as a content supplier. With our fine-tuned sustainability policy (‘TMG actively engaged, every day’), sustainable business has been integrated into our strategy, respecting all stakeholders. In this policy, our three main pillars are ‘Showing interest in each other’, ‘Transparency’ and ‘Reducing our environmental impact’.

Progress in 2015

In 2015, TMG took big strides forward to accelerate the realisation of our strategic objectives. The activities and progress of our business units are dealt with in separate sections. The Executive Board itself maintains control over the strategic change projects, supported by a change team that has been set up specifically for this purpose.

Organisation and management

We adjusted our organisational structure and blueprint to further streamline our company. Various reorganisations were announced and set in motion. Where necessary, management was strengthened, particularly in the marketing and commerce functions. A professional leadership programme was launched for the Top 120 managers.

Internal collaboration and synergy

To drive maximum benefit from the synergies within TMG, in 2016, the non-title-related online activities will be brought together into a single department: the TMG Digital business unit. In addition, we started implementation of a single, central CRM and subscription system to enrich and make optimum use of the wealth of consumer data present within the company. A single Customer Contact Centre was set up for TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie, with the aim of developing more cross-sell activities and thus acquire new customers while retaining existing ones. Finally, we tightened our procurement process at central level.

External collaboration, content and commerce

Getting our house in order so that we will be even better able to provide consumers with high-quality, attractive content has meant that we not only focused on internal matters, but first and foremost on external ones. New partnerships were established to expand our content offering, particularly in the field of video and OTT. We also established partnerships with Apple and IBM. (For more information, see the sections on TMG Landelijke Media and IT.) As part of our collaboration with Talpa, which was announced in January 2016, we are preparing the launch of online television for news and sports. With these special-interest channels, we can offer our consumers more 24/7 content and provide our advertisers with more opportunities for online themed advertising. This is a growing media spend segment.

We implemented a new editorial system to speed up the management and sharing of content, particularly online. The editors of De Telegraaf, Metro and the regional dailies are already working with this system.

In addition, new revenue models and new types of subscription were prepared. These will be introduced in 2016.


Stakeholders and value creation

In our quickly changing information society, the role of a media company such as TMG is becoming increasingly important. By excelling in our core activities, we can add value − not just for consumers, but for all stakeholders in our chain and for society as a whole.

TMG attaches great importance to regular consultation with stakeholders about the direction of the company. We are aware that we exert influence on our stakeholders, and we in our turn are interested in hearing our stakeholders' views and concerns. We use this input to fine-tune our strategy where necessary, and to bring our annual plans up to date.

The Executive Board and the management boards of our business units are involved in this in many different ways. TMG is in daily contact with various stakeholders, such as employees, consumers and advertisers. Through social media, its own websites, publications, presentations and open days, relationships with these stakeholders are developed and maintained. For other stakeholders, there are targeted events and specific moments of contact, such as the shareholders' meetings, presentations and guided tours. TMG also maintains regular contact with the government (e.g., when the radio frequencies are distributed and with regard to the introduction of the new Media Act); contacts with local authorities are maintained by the business units themselves.

Topics discussed during the stakeholder consultations over the past year included TMG's new vision and strategy, its commercial translation, new collaboration opportunities, safety and security, journalistic freedom, employment conditions (e.g., the new pension scheme) and the Social Plan.

In 2016, we will again carry out an extensive stakeholder analysis; our aim is to do this once every three years to ensure that we are doing the right things and staying close to our stakeholders. Our main stakeholders have a large amount of influence on or a significant interest in TMG.

In the diagram 'Stakeholder dialogue', the form, frequency and topics of our dialogue with our main stakeholders have been visualised.

Our main stakeholders

Stakeholder dialogue

Stakeholders

Form of dialogue

Frequency

Topics

24/7 consumers

Bilateral conversations
Customer panels
Social media

Daily

Delivery, content

Advertisers and business partners

Bilateral conversations

Daily

Reach, content, messaging, objectives, possibilities, prices

Employees1, managers, EB, SB and CWC

Town hall meetings
Departmental meetings
Bilateral meetings
Planning and evaluation cycle
Consultation with works councils
Face-to-face contact

Periodical
Weekly
Periodical
Annual
Periodical
Daily

New organisational structure, strategy, employment conditions, safety and security, hotline for integrity issues and inappropriate conduct

Shareholders

Shareholders' meeting

Annual

Financial health of TMG

Suppliers

Bilateral conversations

Daily

Price, quality, sustainability

Government

Bilateral conversations
Meetings

Periodical

Distribution of radio frequencies, Media Act

Society

Guided tours
Social media

Periodical
Daily

TMG actively engaged

  1. Including freelancers.

How we add value for our stakeholders

We aim to add as much value as possible for our stakeholders through our core activities. To carry out its activities, TMG needs ‘input’. This input comes from the supply chain in the form of raw materials, such as paper, ink, energy and aluminium for the printing plates. But it also comes from consumers, equity, employees, the power of our brands, and our business partners. With our core activities and brands, we add value in the chain, among other things by developing high-quality, personalised and relevant 24/7 content, and by contributing to the development of our employees. Eventually, this value has impact on our society and thus on the input that we in turn need for our core activities and brands. In the diagram below we have visualised how we create value for our stakeholders.

Factors that influence our value creation

Various ‘powers’ affect our value creation. First of all, there is the world in which we operate. Ever-growing information flows, increasing uncertainty, consumer behaviour and the possibilities of modern technologies offer opportunities for TMG. In the chapter The world around us we elaborate on this further. In the chapter Risk management we explain how we manage our strategic risks.

Secondly, there are our people. On the one hand, we need to monitor the continuity of our company. In the year under review, this resulted in a number of far-reaching organisational adjustments. On the other hand, we aim to invest in human capital, particularly in journalistic experience and online and commercial knowledge and skills. In the chapter Our people we explain how we dealt with these sometimes conflicting focus areas in 2015.

Thirdly, there are our shareholders. They form an important link in the chain of TMG's further development and continuity. We inform and involve our shareholders through, among other things, press releases, the annual report, the semi-annual report and our General Meeting of Shareholders.

Fourthly, we need to take account of the environment. For TMG, too, it is important that it handles natural resources carefully. Our efforts in this area are elaborated on in the chapter Sustainability and materiality.

Value creation model

As a large media company, we are continuously in touch with society. With our activities and brands, we create both financial
and non-financial value for all relevant stakeholders. In our content, we reflect what our target groups are concerned with.
At the same time, we use our content to influence the social agenda. Through our strategy, we commit to the development
of our employees, and strive for a sustainable return on investment.


Sustainability and materiality

Sustainable return on investment is one of the three main objectives within TMG's strategy. We are faced with the challenge of a permanently shrinking print market, as a result of which our long-term returns are under pressure. The realisation of new distribution and revenue models, largely aimed at digital activities, should lead to a solid basis for TMG − now and in the future − with a maximally positive impact on people, the environment and society. Our sustainable approach contributes to our reliability and our credibility as a leading media company, our innovation power and our anchoring in society.

In TMG's new 24/7 strategy, sustainable return on investment is one of the main objectives. In line with this new strategy, TMG's sustainability policy was also fine-tuned in 2015, and laid down in a new policy document entitled 'TMG actively engaged, every day'. The themes important to our stakeholders were reprioritised (materiality). The existing (old) sustainability policy was used as the basis for the refreshed policy. In 2015, much attention and energy went to restructuring TMG's organisation. As a result, the new sustainability policy has not yet been rolled out completely. Nevertheless, we can show our 2015 performance with regard to quite a few focus areas. As of 2016, we will be able to report on a more complete range of activities.

Besides our sustainability policy, we endorse the principles of the UN Global Compact, the OESO Guidelines and the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as formulated by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Materiality: TMG's most important sustainability themes

In 2015, we prioritised the themes that matter most to internal and external stakeholders and that affect TMG's business success. Through these most important themes, 'shared value' can be created for both stakeholders and TMG.

TMG actively engaged, every day

Every day, TMG is actively engaged with all stakeholders who are important to us. This engagement is reflected in three pillars:

  • Showing interest in each other
  • Saying what we stand for
  • Improving our environmental impact.

These three sustainability pillars are a conscious choice: through its core activities, TMG can make a substantial contribution to these areas and have a positive impact. What is more, the potential effect on our stakeholders is significant. In the table below, we summarise how we want to make this contribution.

Pillars

Vision

Themes

Showing interest
in each other

TMG encourages employees to develop their talents.
Every day, TMG reaches millions of people. This is how we keep people engaged with society.

Being a good employer

- Developing talents
- Reflection of our target groups
- Our people and employment conditions
- Healthy and safe labour conditions

Engaged with society

- Stakeholder engagement
- Giving society a voice
- Sponsoring, supporting charities

Saying what we
stand for


In an ever faster changing world, we aim to act as a guide for our customers, employees, advertisers and investors by helping them make conscious choices. This imposes requirements on our transparency and integrity: our stakeholders need to know what we stand for, and they should be able to rely and build on that.

Transparency

- Ethics and integrity

- TMG management and accountability

- Financial performance

- Sustainability benchmarks

Product responsibility

- Privacy
- Responsible content creation
- Interaction with the consumer
- Distribution and accessibility

Awareness and behavioural change

- Internal and external activities to encourage behavioural change

Sustainable procurement

- Improving sustainable procurement, with respect for people and the environment

Improving our
environmental impact

Our activities have impact on the environment. We take responsibility for this by organising our company as sustainably as possible. Our aim is to create a positive impact through our ecological footprint and to be a role model in our sector.

Energy and emissions

- Reduction of energy consumption
- Reduction of CO2 emissions
- Greener data centres
- Sustainable transport

Raw materials and residual materials

- Circular use of raw materials
- Reduction of residual materials
- Sustainable reuse of residual materials

Environmental management

- Managing, monitoring and reducing our environmental impact

Our sustainability performance in 2015

Showing interest in each other

This pillar of our sustainability policy consists of:

  • Being a good employer
  • Engaged with society

Being a good employer

At TMG, sustainability starts with good employment practices. TMG's performance in this field is elaborated on further in the section Our people.

Engaged with society

Being engaged with society is crucial to the quality of our editorial content. In the section Stakeholders and value creation, we explain how we interpret this.

In addition, TMG actively sponsors and supports charities. For instance, in 2015, a number of employees took part in the two-day La Luz even. The theme of this event was (un)fairness in the food chain. Together with experts in the fields of marketing, sales, research, finance, journalism, sustainability and procurement from companies such as DSM, PepsiCo and Alliander, brainstorm sessions were held on how to create a more balanced food chain.

Furthermore, the Corporate Development department boarded the Climate Train to Paris to discuss with other parties their actual and potential contributions to a better environment. In 2015, TMG implemented a circular scheme for its old mobile phones. The iPhones that were still in good working order were repaired or refurbished in a sheltered workshop, and then sold. In this way, they were given a second life. The other phones were fully recycled. A part of the proceeds was used to buy 'waste phones' from Africa (one waste phone for each used iPhone). The raw materials from these waste phones were almost completely recycled, thus preventing toxic waste. TMG will donate the major part of the proceeds to a Dutch charity that is a good fit with TMG's activities.

Through their own brands, our business units also give meaning to our engagement with society, as can be read in their separate reports included in this annual report.

Geert-Jan van der Snoek

‘A lot to be gained with circular processes’

TMG in Top 20 of Benchmark Circular Business Practices
A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. (Bron: Benchmark Circular Business Practices 2015, VBDO)

In the Benchmark Circular Business Practices 2015 of VBDO, TMG reached a very respectable eighteenth place, just behind Arcadis and above Shell. In total, the performance was measured of 52 listed Dutch companies. TNMG scored particularly high on the aspects of innovation and implementation. CEO Geert-Jan van der Snoek: ‘There is still a lot to be gained with circular processes. For TMG, this is therefore an important part of the production process, which is something our printing plants are particularly focusing on. In our entire sustainability policy, it is 'just' one of the aspects that guide our actions: we want to add value in a sustainable way for all our stakeholders. Eventually, that goes far beyond just circular business processes. That vision is reflected in our overall sustainability policy, which is an integral part of our strategy.’

Saying what we stand for

This pillar’s components are:

  • transparency
  • product responsibility
  • raising awareness and behavioural change
  • sustainable procurement.

Transparency

Ethics and integrity

By acting with integrity, an organisation improves the relationship of trust with its employees, its customers and society. TMG and all of its subsidiaries and business units used to have a large number of regulations and codes of conduct.

In the year under review, a new integrity policy was drawn up and implemented instead; all regulations and codes relating to integrity were updated. To communicate TMG’s new Integrity Policy Plan and to bring the code of conduct to the attention of all employees in an easy and effective way, an e-learning program was developed to guide them through the policy. Both permanent and flexible employees have now followed this training. In addition, a contact point for integrity and inappropriate behaviour was set up in 2015.

The Executive Board is responsible for the integrity policy and ensures that it is updated regularly through a system of monitoring, auditing and adjusting.

TMG’s management, accountability and financial performance

The Executive Board of TMG is responsible for the sustainability strategy and policy. At the end of 2015, a Sustainability Steering Group was formed. This group consists of the CEO (Chair), the Head of Corporate Development, the Sustainability Manager and a professor in the field of sustainable management practices.

The accountability with regard to our organisation’s management and financial performance in 2015 is discussed in the sections about the financial affairs, the business units and Corporate Governance.

Tax compliance

TMG considers it important that it correctly applies the relevant tax laws and international standards (e.g., the OECD guidelines). TMG strives to fully comply with these laws and international standards as to their object and purpose. The company’s Tax Affairs division actively informs TMG’s departments (e.g., Commerce and Finance) about changes in tax laws, and regularly consults about the tax issues involved in this.

TMG is committed to an open dialogue with the Dutch tax authorities, based on mutual respect and trust. In parts, covenants have been agreed to with the Dutch tax authorities, in which binding agreements have been made about TMG’s methods, internal auditing and tax position. TMG has made these agreements to obtain confirmation of its views on tax-related issues based on complete openness and transparency regarding the facts and circumstances.

Sustainability benchmarks

In order to assess TMG’s performance, it is important for us to participate in leading initiatives in the field of sustainability, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (see our GRI table), and benchmarks such as the Transparency Benchmark and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

The Transparency Benchmark, set up by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, assesses companies on their level of transparency in their reporting, including their CSR reporting. With 153 points, TMG achieved the 56th place in the ranking in 2015 (80th in 2014).

In 2018, we would like to score more than 170 points; the maximum score is 200 points. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent non-profit organisation that strives for a global reduction of CO2 emissions (emissions of gases, including CO2) and a sustainable use of water by companies as well as cities. In 2015, TMG scored 91 out of the maximum 100 points, maintaining its C status. TMG’s reports can be viewed on www.cdp.net under ‘Reports and data’.

Product responsibility

Privacy

TMG is committed to the careful and confidential management of privacy-sensitive information, such as databases and other information relating to its customers (including subscribers) and employees. For this purpose, we developed a Personal Information Code of Conduct in 2015. Employees must act in accordance with the applicable privacy laws and this Code of Conduct. The aim is to treat personal information with care and within the legal frameworks in order to make optimal use of this information, while preventing any damage or infringement of privacy.

The Privacy Statement includes the purposes for which TMG processes the personal information of its customers, the instances in which they may provide this information to third parties, and the way in which customers may gain access to their personal information and object to the processing of their details. Where possible, a link to TMG’s Privacy Statement is placed on the pages of TMG’s websites. For some sites, a different privacy statement is applicable, which can be found on the relevant site. Of course, we also pay attention to the security of our systems and customer information (for more information, see the section on IT).

Responsible content creation

TMG wants to offer consumers unconditional, independent information and entertainment in various forms; information should be available and accessible anywhere, anytime. We strive to not be influenced under any circumstances by charitable or political interests, groups or lobbies. The integrity, independence and neutrality of TMG’s products and services should always be ensured. The editorial staff’s own responsibility and independence have been laid down in editorial statutes. These mainly serve to guarantee the journalistic independence of the editorial staff within a commercial organisation. To TMG it is obvious that all statutes must have freedom of expression as their basic value.

Interaction with consumers

In order to serve consumers even better, TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie have set up a single Customer Contact Centre (CCC). The CCC falls under Facilitating Services. This will be dealt with in more detail in the relevant sections. Our business units are in direct contact with their target groups. Their reports can be found in the respective sections.

Consumer complaints: opportunity for improvement

For our national and regional dailies and magazines, customers who have a complaint can contact our customer service through various channels. All complaints are registered. Customer satisfaction surveys following the contact with the customer are one of the ways in which the quality of complaint settlement is monitored, and adjustments are made where necessary. In 2015, our customer service won the “klacht.nl award” for the highest success rate in solving complaints in the Dailies category.

Distribution and accessibility

We are there for everyone in the Netherlands, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are accessible via all kinds of channels, on paper, desktop, tablets, smartphones, and radio. We also take into account people who cannot gain access to our current content in conventional ways (e.g., due to a physical disability). At year-end 2015, we were still in consultation with a potential partner who can convert our content into speech, making it accessible for the blind and visually impaired.

Raising awareness and behavioural change

In 2015, a wide variety of initiatives and activities were organised to make internal and external stakeholders more aware of our strategy and plans. Internally, employees were informed of TMG’s new, more focused, direction and its consequences for the various business units.

For advertisers and marketers, we organised a ‘24/7 event’ to inform them on TMG’s new strategy and the opportunities it offers them. In addition, our brands and media continue to raise awareness among people on a daily basis by gathering, explaining and disseminating news – quickly, carefully and reliably. To effectuate our fine-tuned policy, increasing awareness on sustainability is high on the agenda for 2016.

Sustainable procurement

In the context of supply chain management and value creation, our suppliers are important stakeholders. We try to make them, too, aware of their impact on people and the environment. To this end, we have developed a supplier code of conduct, with conditions relating to, for instance, the environment, working conditions and employee rights. In 2015, TMG’s Supplier Code of Conduct was updated.

For more information, see the section on Facilitating Services (p. 63). In 2014, 67% of the centrally contracted suppliers had signed the Supplier Code of Conduct or indicated that they apply a similar code. In 2015, this had risen to 74%.

Improving our environmental impact

Within this pillar, we analyse which raw materials we need and what our environmental output is, based on:

  • Energy and emissions
  • Raw materials and residual materials
  • Environmental management.

Energy and emissions

Reduction of energy consumption

As part of its energy saving policy, the Dutch government has negotiated a long-term agreement (LTA) on improving energy efficiency with a large number of sectors. At the end of 2012, the graphics sector joined LTA3. In this context, in 2013, TMG developed an Energy Efficiency Plan for the office and printing plant in Alkmaar and the headquarters and printing plant in Amsterdam. These plans describe cost-effective, energy-saving measures to be implemented in the coming years to achieve a cumulative reduction in energy consumption over the period 2013–2016 of 8% for each location.

Agreements have also been made about ways to monitor energy and implementation. Thanks to these measures, the calculated consumption declined compared to the 2012 baseline measurement: in Amsterdam a decline of 7.7% (the actual total consumption declined by 23.7%), and in Alkmaar it declined by 6.8% (the actual total consumption declined by 26.3%). TMG’s total energy consumption (gas and electricity) declined by 8.7% compared to 2014.

Energy consumption in GJ

To limit the impact of TMG's energy consumption, we have been using renewable energy since 2011. We do this in the form of Guarantees of Origin (GOs) as issued by CertiQ, originating from wind energy. In 2015, virtually 100% of the total amount of electricity was certified as sustainable, compared to 96.7% in 2014.

Reduction of CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2)

TMG aims to make its CO2 balance sheet transparent. To this end, we measure and publish the CO2 emissions of offices, printing plants and in-house-managed transportation, being Scopes 1 and 2 as defined in the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol guideline and the CO2 emissions from business flights.

In 2015, our CO2 emissions fell by 15% compared to the previous year. This decline was mainly due to the closure of Keesing Media Group’s printing plant in France in the second quarter. In addition, all our offices in the Netherlands and abroad made the move to CO2-neutral electricity. The fact that our leased car fleet shrank by 71 cars also led to a decrease in our CO2 emissions. In addition, TMG limits the environmental impact of its lease cars by making it obligatory for employees to choose a car with an A, B or C environmental label, and setting a CO2 upper limit per label.

During 2015, at most locations more natural gas was used than in 2014. This was mainly due to the colder first half of 2015. This has had a limiting effect on the decrease of our CO2 emissions. In addition, the conversion factors on www.CO2-emissiefactoren.nl have been slightly adjusted, as a result of which the calculated CO2 emissions relating to natural gas and electricity used in 2015 increased by 2.7%.

Total direct CO2 emission in kton

Total direct CO2 emission per function

Greener data centres

At year-end 2015, 100% of the external hosting of our online products made use of green electricity (on the basis of CPUs). TMG aims to obtain more insight into the energy efficiency (low PUE values) and CO2 performance of the external data centres that host our online products.

Sustainable transport

Besides energy and natural gas, TMG consumes fuel for transport. TMG’s transport movements consist of the distribution of our printed media, transport of people and air travel. In 2015, preparations were started for adjusting our mobility policy in 2016. We will be offering more sustainable choices and more flexibility. Besides the leased car option, mobility budgets will be introduced.

In 2015, a small-scale pilot was run in which participating employees could make use of an electric carpooling car and/or an electric bicycle for business travel. In addition, they received a personal Dutch Railways business card, and the effectiveness of a bonus-malus system for leased cars was tested. The effectiveness of mobility budgets and their use for various facilities was also tested. The first results are positive. In 2016, our sustainable transport plans will be worked out further.

With respect to distribution, the Facilitating Services department has examined to what extent external transporters who take our printed media from the printing plants to the distribution locations are taking measures to minimise their impact on the environment. This study shows that lorries with a Euro 5 standard engine are currently the norm, while there seems to be a slight shift towards the Euro 6 standard. No use is made of alternative fuels. The majority do use A- or B-class tyres (rolling resistance) and check tyre pressure at least four times a year. Most transporters have followed training on energy-efficient driving.

Raw materials and residual materials

Circular use of raw materials

To produce paper, wood pulp is used. The origin of the wood pulp we use is an important environmental factor in the light of responsible forestry. In 2015, 98% of all the newsprint we procured consisted of paper that was certified as sustainable. In our paper production, we still rely on wood (virgin fibre); paper can eventually be recycled six or seven times, after which it can no longer be used for printing newspapers. In 2015, we used 22% recycled paper in our production. Our aim is to use at least 40% recycled paper in our production in 2016.

Proportion of primary raw materials used

In the year under review, a QI technology pilot was run on one of the printing presses. This technology reduces the use of water and ink, while ensuring a more stable printing quality and a better colour quality. The results of the pilot are positive; in the first half of 2016, the technology will also be implemented on the other three presses.

Reducing and reusing residual materials

The total volume of residual materials declined by 31%, from 7,653 kilotons in 2014 to 5,299 kilotons in 2015. This decline was mainly caused by lower paper consumption and fewer free residual flows relating to renovations. At 80%, paper continued to be the largest residual flow. This mainly concerns paper used in the set-up of the printing presses. The printing plates are manufactured such that the aluminium of the used printing plates can be fully reused by suppliers.

TMG aims to recycle as much waste as possible. Our performance in 2015:

  • 93% of the residual materials were recycled (2014: 77%);
  • 100% of the printing plates and 96% of the paper residual materials, which was collected separately, were recycled (the same as in 2014);
  • 9% of the liquid residual materials were recycled into new high-value products (2014: 3%);
  • 89% of the other residual materials were recycled by suppliers, particularly into energy pallets that replace fossil fuels in power plants (2014: at least 25%).

Overview of residual materials in kton

Environmental management

In 2015, a start was made with the implementation of an environmental management system based on ISO14001. This system covers many of TMG’s activities: from product procurement to waste disposal. By working with this system, we can manage and reduce the environmental risks of our daily activities. TMG expects to obtain the ISO14001 certificate in the second quarter of 2016.


Financial performance

  • The EBITDA result (excluding restructuring charges) amounted to € 41.6 million, compared to € 46.3 million in 2014;
  • Revenues decreased by € 35.4 million to € 482.3 million, due to lower revenues from advertising and subscriptions;
  • Despite spending more than € 20 million on restructuring and more than € 10 million on investments, the liquidity position at 31 December 2015 was marginally higher than at 31 December 2014.

The effect of increasing digitalisation can be seen in the development of revenues and results. Consumers are increasingly consuming media online, as a result of which revenues from print subscriptions are falling, and media spend is shifting from print to online, leading to a decline in advertising revenues. Revenues from digital, by contrast, increased (corrected for the decline at Dichtbij.nl). However, this increase was not sufficient to offset the decline in print and radio. As a result of these developments, revenues decreased by € 35.4 million. Thanks to significant cost savings, partly due to reorganisations, the decline in EBITDA (excluding restructuring charges) remained limited to € 4.7 million, with EBITDA amounting to € 41.6 million. The net result amounted to a loss of € 23.6 million (2014: loss of € 38.1 million) due to high restructuring charges and an impairment on printing presses and buildings.

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Subscriptions

177.2

182.9

-3.1

Single copy sales

92.1

90.8

1.4

Advertisements

116.3

140.2

-17.0

B2B digital revenues

33.0

34.8

-5.2

Consumer digital revenues

9.6

8.1

18.5

E-commerce

18.8

18.4

2.2

Printing

3.9

3.5

11.4

Distribution

17.5

18.5

-5.4

Other revenues

13.9

20.5

-32.2

Total income

482.3

517.7

-6.8

Revenues from subscriptions and single-copy sales

Revenues from subscriptions and single-copy sales decreased by € 4.4 million (-1.6%) to € 269.3 million. In 2014, the decline was 2.3%. The lower decline compared to 2014 was due to an increase in revenues at Keesing Media Group, thanks to the success of the colouring books for adults. De Telegraaf showed an increase in the number of combined subscriptions (print and digital), but this could not offset the decline in print-only subscriptions. Revenues from single-copy sales of De Telegraaf also fell, reflecting the fact that people are increasingly consuming media on tablets and smartphones. With respect to regional media, revenues from subscriptions and single copy sales fell slightly, in line with the decline in 2014.

Advertising revenues

Advertising revenues from print and radio activities amounted to € 116.3 million, a decline of 17.0% (2014: a decline of 14.7%). The shift of media spend from print to digital is clearly visible here. As part of the rationalisation process, one-third of 17% decline is attributable to the discontinuation of Sp!ts and the Sunday newspapers. The revenues from radio commercials declined by 17.1%, due especially to a decline in the listening market share of Radio Veronica in 2014. In 2015, this decline stabilised, and in the last few months of 2015, the listening market share was going up again.

B2B digital revenues

B2B digital revenues, mainly consisting of online advertising revenues, decreased in the past year by 5.2% (2014: down 4.6%) to € 33.0 million. This decrease is fully attributable to the decline in revenues at Dichtbij.nl by € 4.1 million. At Dichtbij.nl, measures have now been taken (see also the explanation in the Holland Media Combinatie section). Excluding Dichtbij.nl, the B2B digital revenues would have increased by € 2.3 million (8.9%). This increase is mainly due to higher video revenues of Dumpert and higher advertising revenues at Telegraaf.nl.  

Consumer digital revenues

Consumer digital revenues, mainly consisting of online advertising revenues, increased by 18.5% in 2015 (2014: down 15.3%) thanks to growth in the number of digital and combined subscriptions at De Telegraaf (up 22%) and thanks to the introduction of an extra charge on top of the regular subscription fee for digital access to products at regional media as of 1 July 2014.

E-commerce revenues

Revenues from e-commerce grew by € 0.4 million thanks to higher revenues at Groupdeal.

Revenues from production and distribution activities for third parties

Revenues from production and distribution activities for third parties decreased slightly due to declining volumes.

Other revenues

Other revenues decreased by € 6.6 million, partly due to the fact that fewer subscriptions were sold that included a free iPad mini. In 2014, we started an 'iPad mini' campaign to encourage consumers to buy a combined subscription, with the aim of familiarising consumers with premium online content and the digital newspaper. In addition, the revenues of Telegraaf Video Media were lower due to the discontinuation of Vandaag De Dag. In 2014, the other revenues included the proceeds from the sale of the intellectual property of MyRadio (€ 2.0 million). In 2015, the other revenues include a book profit of € 1.0 million from the sale of buildings.  

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Raw and auxiliary materials

28.9

38.3

-24.5

Transport and distribution costs

70.4

77.1

-8.7

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

37.3

37.1

0.5

Personnel costs

202.0

182.5

10.7

Sales costs

31.1

35.8

-13.1

Other operating expenses

98.2

100.8

-2.6

Operating expenses 1

467.9

471.6

-0.8

  1. Operating expenses before depreciation, amortisation and impairment losses

Operating expenses (excluding depreciation, amortisation and impairment charges) fell by € 3.7 million to € 467.9 million. In 2015, restructuring charges of € 27.2 million (2014: € 0.2 million) were included. Excluding restructuring charges, operating expenses decreased by € 30.7 million, partly due to the lower volumes and partly due to the cost reduction programme initiated in 2012 and 2013. This programme was virtually completed in 2015, which led to a reduction in the average number of FTEs by approximately 700 over the period 2011 untill 2015.

Raw and auxiliary materials

The costs of raw and auxiliary materials declined by € 9.4 million, due to lower paper and ink prices, as well as lower newspaper circulations, partly as a result of portfolio changes, such as the discontinuation of the free paper Sp!Ts.

Transport and distribution costs

The decline in transport and distribution costs by € 6.7 million was mainly due to lower newspaper circulations and optimisations implemented during the year.

Outsourced work and technical production

The costs of outsourced work and technical production increased by € 0.2 million, mainly due to the closure of the printing plant in France in 2014, after which the printing of all puzzle books was outsourced.

Personnel costs

Personnel costs increased in 2015 by € 19.5 million. However, excluding restructuring charges of € 27.2 million (2014: € 0.2 million) personnel costs decreased by € 7.5 million. Wages, social charges and pension costs decreased by € 12.1 million, mainly due to the decrease in the number of FTEs. The pension costs include a gain of € 2.4 million, due to the phasing out of the contribution to medical expenses of retirees. This contribution will be phased out in 2016. Other personnel costs increased by € 4.7 million, mainly due to higher costs of hiring temporary staff for miscellaneous operational and strategic projects and increased spending on training and developing staff.

The average number of FTEs decreased from 2,351 in 2014 to 2,117 in 2015. This decline was particularly visible at TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie, where the number of FTEs decreased by 84 and 118 respectively, as a result of the phased strategic reorganisation initiated in recent years and the associated reduction in personnel.

In 2015, reorganisations were announced at the printing plants, the editorial staff of TMG Landelijke Media and Dichtbij.nl. These reorganisations are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

Sales costs

Sales costs decreased by € 4.7 million in 2015, mainly as a result of lower sales costs at De Telegraaf. These lower costs are due to the fact that there were fewer campaigns. There were no major events in 2015 (no Olympic Games and World/European Football Championships) and in 2014 the roll-out of the tabloid in 2014 was accompanied by a major marketing campaign.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses declined by € 2.6 million, with declines visible in nearly all cost categories, such as editorial, automation, housing, lease expenses and costs related to the iPad campaign. The only costs that increased were consultancy costs, which related, among other things, to the reorganisations and operational and strategic projects.

EBITDA contributed by business units

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

TMG Landelijke Media

53.5

55.0

-2.7

Holland Media Combinatie

22.0

23.7

-7.2

Sky Radio Group

6.5

16.0

-59.4

Keesing Media Group

20.6

19.3

6.7

Facilitating services

(47.5)

(32.5)

46.2

Head Office / Eliminations

(40.7)

(35.4)

15.0

EBITDA

14.4

46.1

-68.8

EBITDA decreased from € 46.1 million to € 14.4 million. Excluding restructuring charges, however, the decrease amounted to € 4.7 million (from € 46.3 million to € 41.6 million). This decrease is entirely due to a decline in EBITDA at Sky Radio Group. Further details on the EBITDA development of the business units TMG Landelijke Media, Holland Media Combinatie, Sky Radio Group, Keesing Media Group and Facilitating Services have been included in separate sections per business unit. The increase in the costs of Head Office, which includes the central IT department, was due in particular to higher consultancy costs, relating to, amongst other things, the reorganisation of the printing plants, the refinancing, and the establishment of a central change management organisation to supervise the various strategic and operational improvement processes. In addition, training costs increased due to the launch of the M3 programme (see also the section Our people).

Depreciation and impairments

Depreciation and amortisation

Depreciation and amortisation were € 28.6 million, and thus almost identical to 2014. In 2015, the amortisation contains a catch-up depreciation of € 1.5 million on the intangible fixed assets of Relatieplanet, due to the reclassification of Relatieplanet from ‘assets and liabilities held for sale’ to ‘continued operations’.

Impairments

Impairments amounted to € 6.8 million (2014: € 49.0 million) and relate to a downward revaluation of printing presses and buildings in connection with the decision to reduce printing capacity. In this context, in 2014, printing presses and buildings were depreciated by € 5.4 million. In addition, at year-end 2014, a downward revaluation of Sky Radio Group was made of € 40.9 million, due to the fact that future cash flows are expected to be structurally lower.

Financial income and expenses

Financial income and expenses in 2015 amounted to € 1.8 million negative (2014: € 7.2 million negative). The financial expenses relate mainly to long-term commitments, including the FM licence fee for Sky Radio Group.

In 2014, TMG Landelijke Media sold its activities relating to Zoom.in Nederland B.V. and Ticket Plus BV. A negative result of € 4.9 million arose on the sale of the participation.

Income tax

Income tax amounted to a debit balance of € 0.8 million (2014: debit balance of € 0.5 million). The effective tax burden was -2.6% (2014: 2.4%). The income tax includes the effect of the liquidation of foreign participations and the effect of offsetting tax-deductible losses relating to Dichtbij.nl. These two effects together led to a non-cash write-off of tax-deductible losses and a tax debit balance of € 7.0 million. Adjusted for this, there would have been a tax credit balance of € 6.2 million and an effective tax burden of 27.0%. The tax burden in 2014 was strongly influenced by the depreciation of Sky Radio Group, which is not tax deductible.

The income tax paid in 2015 amounted to € 5.0 million and relates to tax paid in France and Belgium on the profitable activities of Keesing Media Group in those countries.

Net result

The net result for 2015 amounted to a loss of € 23.6 million (2014: loss of € 38.1 million). This loss was mainly due to the aforementioned restructuring charges and impairment of printing presses and buildings.

Development of the balance sheet

The balance sheet total decreased by € 29.3 million, mainly due to depreciation and amortisation of tangible and intangible fixed assets. The solvency ratio, calculated as the percentage of the equity (attributable to shareholders of Telegraaf Media Groep N.V.) of the balance sheet total fell slightly from 54,4% to 52,7%, mainly as a result of the previously reported loss. Working capital (i.e., current assets excluding cash and assets held for sale less the short-term liabilities, excluding interest-bearing loans and borrowings and liabilities held for sale) improved from € 88.6 million negative to € 93.0 million negative. This is partly due to a reduction of stocks by € 4.8 million, thanks to a new procurement policy whereby paper is bought only on demand and the reduction of the minimum base stock of paper.

Cash flow development

Net cash flow from operating activities

Net cash flow from operating activities in 2015 was € 16.3 million positive, compared to € 24.1 million positive in 2014. This decrease was mainly due to higher restructuring charges paid (€ 9.4 million more than in 2014) and a decline in EBITDA (excluding restructuring charges) by € 4.7 million. This was partly offset by a stronger improvement in working capital in 2015 than in 2014, partly due to the reduction of stocks of raw and auxiliary materials by € 4.8 million.

Cash flow from investing activities

Cash flow from investing activities amounted to € 10.1 million negative (2014: € 10.6 million negative). The investments in intangible fixed assets mainly concerned software for business applications and IT infrastructure. Investments in tangible fixed assets related to printing press upgrades in the printing plant in Amsterdam and renovations of buildings. In 2014, cash flow from investing activities included the divestiture of Zoom.in Nederland B.V. and Ticket Plus B.V.

Cash flow from financing activities

Cash flow from financing activities amounted to € 5.6 million negative (2014: € 13.1 million negative) and mainly relates to the payment of the annual FM licence fee to the Telecom Agency by the Sky Radio Group with regard to Lot A1. Unlike 2014, in 2015, the Dutch State did not yet recover the repayment due with regard to the licence obligation relating to the period September 2015 up to and including August 2016, following the judgement of the Board of Trade and Industry Appeals in the lawsuit filed by Sky Radio Group. For more information, see the notes to the off balance sheet assets and liabilities in the financial statements. In 2014, cash flow from financing activities included the acquisition of the remaining 40% of Groupdeal shares for € 3.8 million.

On balance, the cash flow was € 0.6 million positive (2014: € 0.4 million positive), despite significant payments in restructuring charges of € 20.7 million and investments of more than € 10 million.

Financing

In July 2015, a new revolving credit facility of € 70 million was agreed with a consortium of two banks, replacing the existing credit facility, which expired on 31 October 2015. The new facility has a term of three years and is on competitive terms. No collateral has been provided for this loan. No use was made of the facility in 2015. The conditions imposed by the banks were met as at 31 December 2015.

Dividend

Based on the dividend policy as described in the section The TMG share, a dividend is proposed of € 0.16 per share.

Outlook

On 15 January 2016, TMG announced a strategic partnership with Talpa in the areas of radio, TV and Over The Top (OTT). This collaboration will further strengthen the positions of TMG and Talpa in these areas. The collaboration will be shaped through three initiatives:

  • a strong Dutch commercial radio station, offering a comprehensive, high-quality range of broadcasting. TMG will acquire an interest of 22.85% in this new radio company. TMG’s interest can be increased to up to 25% if certain targets are met.
  • a TV company that will form an important strategic step for TMG by enabling it to take up a position in the Dutch TV landscape. TMG will acquire a 15% interest in Talpa’s interest in SBS.
  • a platform for the joint development of OTT offerings. This is of strategic value to TMG, given its plans to launch new OTT content for news and sports in 2016.

As part of the collaboration TMG will contribute the radio stations Sky Radio and Radio Veronica, as well as € 27 million cash.

In addition, 2016 will be dominated by a focus on core brands and further increasing the reach of our main brands. Substantial investments will be made in digital, for example by developing applications and improving the websites of our main brands. This development will be carried out both independently and with partners.

Since 1 January 2016, our non-title-related online activities have been grouped into a new business unit: TMG Digital BV. By investing in this new business unit and by working together with a focus on customers and relevant themes, we can greatly improve the combined results of those activities.

In the first quarter of 2016, the reorganisation of our printing plants, TMG Landelijke Media and Dichtbij.nl will be concluded. As a result, the number of FTEs will diminish noticeably in 2016.


Results of TMG Landelijke Media

TMG Landelijke Media is the largest business unit within TMG. TMG Landelijke Media’s key brands are De Telegraaf, Privé, Vrouw, Autovisie, DFT, Telesport and Metro. With these strong, nationally well-known brands, TMG Landelijke Media provides content in print, online and in cross-media formats. For advertisers and marketers, we combine our high-quality and popular content to create a large multi-media reach. This also enables us to make clear distinctions within various target groups. With Telegraaf Video Media, we create video productions commissioned by internal and external parties, both editorial and commercial. At year-end, the total number of TMG Landelijke Media’s employees was 711. The head office is located in Amsterdam.

Results

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Subscriptions

119.7

123.8

-3.3

Single copy sales

25.1

27.9

-10.0

Advertisements

50.7

62.3

-18.6

B2B digital revenues

27.3

25.0

9.2

Consumer digital revenues

7.1

6.9

2.9

E-commerce

18.3

17.7

3.4

Other revenues

7.5

11.2

-33.0

Total

255.7

274.8

-7.0

TMG Landelijke Media’s total revenues fell from € 274.8 million to € 255.7 million (-7.0%), primarily due to a fall in advertising revenues from print.

Revenues from subscriptions

Revenues from subscriptions went down by € 4.1 million (-3.3%), including a € 3.6 million decline at De Telegraaf daily paper and a € 0.4 million decline at Privé. At De Telegraaf, the average number of subscriptions was down 6.1% (2014: -6.0%).

Advertising revenues

The decline in advertising revenues in print is largely attributable to Metro/Sp!ts (-€ 6.9 million), due to the discontinuation of the free newspaper Sp!ts as of October 2014 and a volume decline at Metro of 20.5%. The advertising revenues of De Telegraaf daily paper declined by € 3.7 million, in line with the expected decline in the advertising market. This decline was partly due to the fact that there were no major sporting events in 2015.

B2B digital revenues

B2B digital revenues continued to rise in 2015, mainly thanks to increased online video revenues of Dumpert. The digital advertising revenues of Telegraaf.nl rose by 3.4% to € 17.6 million.

E-commerce revenues

E-commerce revenues grew by € 0.6 million thanks to higher revenues at Groupdeal.

Other revenues

Other revenues declined due to a larger than expected distribution of free iPads to new subscribers in 2014, and a decline in video revenues due to the discontinuation of Vandaag de Dag.

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Raw and auxiliary materials

42.4

47.7

-11.1

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

30.1

37.0

-18.6

Personnel costs

76.3

69.5

9.8

Sales costs

15.7

22.1

-29.0

Other operating expenses

37.7

43.5

-13.3

Total

202.2

219.8

-8.0

Total operating expenses declined by € 17.6 million (-8.0%). Excluding restructuring charges of € 8.3 million, mainly relating to the reorganisation of the commercial and editorial departments, operating expenses even declined by € 28.8 million.

Transport and distribution costs and costs of subcontracted work

Transport and distribution costs and costs of subcontracted work fell by € 12.2 million, due to the smaller circulation and smaller size of Dagblad De Telegraaf, the discontinuation of the free daily newspaper Sp!ts, and the lower costs of paper and ink.

Personnel costs

Personnel costs, excluding restructuring charges, declined by € 3.8 million, due to a fall in the average number of FTEs of 75.

Sales costs

Sales costs went down by € 6.4 million. This was mainly due to the fact that there were fewer campaigns than in 2014 (when the FIFA World Cup was held and we launched our tabloid format), and less was spent on acquiring subscriptions for Dagblad De Telegraaf.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses declined, thanks to various cost savings and one-off costs in 2014 related to the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.

EBITDA

EBITDA of TMG Landelijke Media was € 53.5 million, a decline of € 1.5 million compared to 2014. The decline in revenues was largely offset by a reduction in costs, despite the high restructuring charges. Excluding restructuring charges, EBITDA actually improved by € 9.1 million.

Reach

The combined print and online figures compiled by the national multimedia research unit (NOM) for the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 show that De Telegraaf has by far the biggest total reach of all dailies in the Netherlands. In the above measuring period, De Telegraaf reached 7,019,000 people (50% of the Dutch population aged 13 and over). In addition, De Telegraaf achieved one billion page views in December (source: Google Analytics, December 2015) and 18.5 million video views in the same month (source: Streamone, December 2015). A large total reach also characterised TMG Landelijke Media's other main brands in 2015. For example, VROUW reached a total of 2.4 million people in the aforementioned measuring period, while Privé reached 3.6 million and Metro reached 6.2 million people (source: NOM).

Milestones in 2015

In 2015, TMG Landelijke Media’s main concern was to accelerate the development and implementation of a decisive and effective organisation focused on the brands.

Focus on consumers, key brands and core activities

On top of the news

In 2015, Dagblad De Telegraaf again enjoyed many sensational scoops. For instance, the daily revealed that the notorious Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder was hard-pressed by incriminating statements made by his own sisters and an ex-girlfriend. The newspaper also reported the remarkable discovery by Dutch detectives of long-lost treasure hidden by the Nazis, news that was picked up around world. With respect to crime and criminals, De Telegraaf gave extensive day-by-day coverage to the wave of Turkish and Moroccan gangland killings, as well as to the role played by Hells Angels in attacks on rival motorcycle gangs. The paper also exposed abuses in various prisons, including one of the country’s maximum security jails (Vught). Meanwhile, the paper’s parliamentary editorial staff focused on the obscurity surrounding the EU’s retrospective collection of taxes, and, through a freedom-of-information request, got hold of documents that cast an entirely different light on the government’s official position. To get to the bottom of the matter, De Telegraaf even took it to the European Court of Justice. In the field of finance, De Telegraaf worked closely with the German Handelsblatt newspaper to bring new revelations in the Imtech fraud affair. In addition, the paper’s parliamentary reporters exposed the secret negotiations about two Rembrandt paintings; they also shed light on the public prosecutor’s investigation into a leak from a secret committee of the Lower House of Parliament.

Reorganisation designed to improve consumer centricity

To increase the number of touch points with our current brands, and to attract new consumers, in 2015, TMG Landelijke Media decided to focus on several of its brands that have particular journalistic authority. Under the motto of ‘From a single brand to multiple brands’, TMG Landelijke Media is now working through seven main brands to respond to consumers’ wishes and needs, providing informative and entertaining content, which is delivered fast, 24/7, and through all channels and devices. Because the organisational structure insufficiently supported this directional change, a reorganisation was announced, which has now largely been implemented. Each of the main brands now has its own editor-in-chief and its own publisher. The editors-in-chief are under the ultimate responsibility of the General Editor-in-Chief; the publishers report to the general manager of the business unit TMG Landelijke Media.

As of 1 January 2016, non-title-related digital activities have been part of the new business unit TMG Digital BV (see below).

TNS Nipo consumer/market research

In the third quarter of 2015, TNS Nipo commissioned a study called ‘The future of TMG, based on consumer needs’. This research led to a number of need-based segmentations, on the basis of which TMG Landelijke Media will further fine-tune its propositions in 2016.

Restyling of De Telegraaf

Under the leadership of the new editorial team, De Telegraaf daily was restyled at the end of October. The newspaper now has a cleaner and fresher layout. The internal structure has been updated, and in terms of content the daily now provides more background to the news. The restyling was presented at the 40,000th edition of De Telegraaf, along with a campaign to attract more subscribers (40 days for € 0.40 per day), as well as an online subscriber campaign with free cakes for subscribers, offered exclusively via our own channels. About 55,000 subscribers collected the cakes. Around the time of the launch of the restyled newspaper, several thousand trial subscriptions were taken out, which led to many new subscribers.

Reader survey of tabloid leads to improvements

In early November 2015, the acceptance and evaluation of De Telegraaf as a tabloid was measured among members of the Telegraaf Readers Panel. The results of the study were encouraging and revealed points for further improvement. A start was made on tackling some of these improvement points in 2016.

National 8-day Car Event

On 20 June, as part of the National 8-Day Car Event in the Netherlands, Autovisie organised Cars & Coffee XXL. Some 1,500 visitors and 400 special cars got together in the parking lot of TMG in Amsterdam. Besides Autovisie, other TMG brands present at the event were De Telegraaf, Gaspedaal.nl, RTL and RTL Autowereld Autovisie (Telegraaf Video Media), Radio Veronica, Sky Radio, Classic FM, Metro, the regional dailies and Dichtbij.

270 million views for Telegraaf Video Media

In 2015, Telegraaf Video Media achieved more than 270 million video views with its editorial productions for the online TMG platforms, including De Telegraaf. In addition, various sponsored TV programmes were made for external platforms, including KampeerTV, RTL Autowereld and Dagboek Missie Mali. In addition, Telegraaf Video Media produced commercials and company videos commissioned by third parties.

VROUW Awards

In mid-June, the presentation of the annual Vrouw Awards was a great success. A good 55 advertisers were present at the ceremony in the College Hotel in Amsterdam. In total, nearly 30,000 Vrouw readers cast their votes for their favourite products and their favourite ‘power-woman’. The Award proves how TMG Landelijke Media, thanks to its platform, is able to link specific target groups with consumer brands.

Successful partnerships

For supermarket chain Jumbo, TMG Landelijke Media developed a viral advertising campaign around the start of the Tour de France in Utrecht. In a video on Dumpert, which has a monthly reach of over 108 million video views and is one of the largest video channels in the Netherlands, it was announced that Joop Zoetemelk would sell his yellow jersey. On the first day of the Tour, Jumbo handed out yellow jerseys to the public. This earned Jumbo a Sponsor Ring at the end of 2015.

To broaden the target groups, a first step was made in 2015 in joining forces with the Oerol cultural festival, held on the island of Terschelling every summer. De Telegraaf published a series of articles about Terschelling, while 10,000 free copies of Vrouw magazine were distributed during the festival.

Various campaigns were developed to attract more subscribers. In mid-October, a loyalty campaign was aimed at subscribers of De Telegraaf and Noordhollands Dagblad, with a positive response. In cooperation with the Dutch State Lottery, a lead generation campaign was set up, in which De Telegraaf readers could win great prizes by taking out a trial subscription. In late October, a collaboration was started with Peijnenburg: after buying two Peijnenburg action products, consumers could activate a gift subscription to De Telegraaf. Existing Telegraaf subscribers could apply for five issues of Privé or three issues of Autovisie.

Accelerated digital growth

One billion page views

TMG Landelijke Media saw the number of digital readers and digital subscriptions increase in 2015. The monthly number of page views of De Telegraaf exceeded the one billion mark, with more video views (18.5 million per month) and greater mobile reach. De Telegraaf continues to work on enhancing its total reach through all possible distribution channels. At the non-title-related websites, Dumpert (142 million page views and 108 million video views), GeenStijl (2,1 million users per month) and Upcoming (2,4 million users per month) were particularly noticeable. The activities of Glamorama.nl were discontinued in 2015 in order to be able to focus more on strengthening the Privé brand.

Firsts: Apple Watch and Facebook Instant Articles

TMG Landelijke Media is a leader in connecting with new content platforms and social networks. De Telegraaf and Metro, for example, are the first news brands on Facebook Instant Articles. De Telegraaf is the first Dutch news brand on the Apple Watch.

New VROUW website

A new digital environment for VROUW was prepared in 2015. With five central themes (health, education, psychology & relationships, food, and lifestyle), visitors get in-depth information about issues that concern women. Online video is given a prominent role. The soft launch of the new Vrouw.nl website took place in December 2015, while the consumer launch took place in January 2016.

Ubideo enriches Metro content

Metro has announced a collaboration with Ubideo, a live streaming app that allows users all over the world to stream images. In this way, Metro enriches the news for its readers. The first concrete result was the live stream report from the Amsterdam Dance Event. In five days, 100,000 view sessions were recorded, with an average viewing time of 9 minutes.

New newsroom system enhances online

CCI Newsgate, the new editorial system that was put into operation in 2015 at TMG Landelijke Media, makes it possible to strengthen the digital domain. The system allows editors to disseminate and spread content across different platforms more easily and more effectively, and from a single point. This improved control frees up more time for additional online publications.

Relatieplanet wins again

For the seventh time, Relatieplanet.nl won the ‘Website of the Year’ award in the Dating category. In 2015, Relatieplanet was completely renewed, with a responsive design and improved functionalities.

New business unit: TMG Digital

As of 1 January 2016, TMG Digital is an independent business unit, bringing together all non-title-related online activities. This joining of forces means that the online expertise within the group can be used even better and developed further. TMG Digital will play a crucial role in further strengthening the non-title-related online activities, scaling up 24/7 content, developing new revenue models, operating various (digital) channels and content-sharing between different titles. (See also the text box below.)

Ernst Keyzer

‘We’re creating more initiatives: colleagues are inspiring each other ’

New business unit: TMG Digital

All non-title-related TMG online brands (except Relatieplanet and News Media) have now been brought together on a completely refurbished floor in TMG’s Amsterdam offices. The department’s open, dynamic atmosphere is palpable. ‘We asked an exhibition stand builder to design the layout,’ says Ernst Keyzer, who is in charge of the new business unit with well-known brand names such as Jaap, Huizenzoeker, Groupdeal, Gaspedaal, Relatieplanet, Dumpert, GeenStijl and Upcoming.

‘Ever since the regrouping in October 2015, we first focused on the design of the organisation – not only in terms of office space, but also the processes and systems,’ says Keyzer. ‘From the very start, we noticed that we’re creating more initiatives and are inspiring each other. You could immediately see the synergy. The sprints we work in are more productive, and we won’t find ourselves reinventing the wheel in two different places. We’re developing a unified business development process, we’re using the same underlying technology, and shared functions, such as user experience design and growth hacking, are present at business unit level. We also have more scale and better opportunities to attract and retain talent.’

In 2016, TMG Digital will be focusing on scaling up the already successful well-performing titles. In doing so, cross-selling opportunities with other titles within TMG will also be considered. In addition, the focus will be on the accelerated development of new business models (Keyzer: ‘We have exactly the right experience and flexibility to do this.’) and on improving the product/market fit of a number of less mature sites.

Developing new revenue models

New advertising rates

A new advertising rate structure has been developed for the TMG Landelijke Media brand, and for all other brands within TMG. From 2016, the prices of all ads will be based on actual reach figures. Advertisers pay a uniform rate based on the CPM model. This amounts to a flat rate per 1,000 contacts in our media. Advertisers can buy advertising space for all types of media at one central point. The approach is: ‘Through TMG, you can reach the entire country.’ In addition to agreements with respect to individual titles or sites, we also offer ‘reach packages’. The new rate structure has a number of benefits: it promotes cross-media sales (national print, regional print, desktop, tablet, mobile), it strengthens our competitive price proposition, it works faster and more efficiently (simpler and more structured, for both print and online), and its gives advertisers greater insight into costs per media type.

Automated display increasingly popular

In the year under review, automated display (trading advertising space and banners on the web via an auction system) at TMG Landelijke Media’s brands grew by over 20%. This increase is a result of market trends (shifting from manual procurement to automated procurement by both advertisers and media agencies, and more new buyers) and internal factors (availability of new formats, an increase in mobile, and the creation of new Private Market Place propositions).

Measuring online reach

To better measure online reach, TMG Landelijke Media is working with NPO, RTL and Sanoma Persgroep to develop a new set of ‘reach instruments’ for digital and online videos (NOBO). This ongoing research is expected to be operational in the first half of 2016.

Increasing efficiency

CCI Newsgate

CCI Newsgate, which is now operational, makes it possible to share content between different titles and different carriers. This enables closer collaboration and increases efficiency.

One Customer Contact Centre, one customer management system

Since 1 October 2015, all TMG Landelijke Media customers are serviced from a shared Customer Contact Centre. This is part of TMG’s Facilitating Services department. In 2015, TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie also began moving towards a new, modern, shared customer information system. This encourages cross-selling opportunities and paves the way for new combined subscriptions of national and regional newspapers, for both print and digital.

Investing in people and culture

Training: focus on online and commerce 

Besides participating in TMG-wide training programmes, TMG Landelijke Media devoted considerable attention to the targeted training and education of its employees in 2015. The specific focus was on gaining knowledge and commercial skills in the field of online. In addition, sales managers and senior account managers received coaching. The editorial staff of Metro followed a course in online news, and those in commercial positions received CPM training. A large group of developers and all product owners were certified as ‘scrum masters’ in December.

Being involved in society

The story behind the news

To give even better interpretations of the news and thus better fulfil the role of guide, De Telegraaf launched ‘The story behind the news’. This feature is designed to inform readers of both the newspaper and the online channel (with video) about the background to the news.

Special free editions

After the socially momentous events relating to Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent attacks in Paris, De Telegraaf twice made its Sunday edition available online for free.

Sponsoring

TMG Landelijke Media sponsored various initiatives and events in 2015. These included the Sail tall ships event (with a special, jointly edited supplement in De Telegraaf and TMG’s regional papers) ​​and the Lauswolt summer concert in the woods of Beetsterzwaag in the north of the country. In addition, a full-page advertisement in De Telegraaf was made available for the charity auctions at the KNRM (national lifeboat organisation) held in late November at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, for Emma’s Amazing Fund-raising Gala for the Emma Children’s Hospital (Amsterdam Medical Centre) in late March 2015 at the Gashouder in Amsterdam, and for Orange Babies, a charity whose main purpose is to help HIV-positive pregnant women in Africa.

Crowdfunding through Telesport: € 250,000 for sporting talent

In 2015, Telesport again gave talented athletes a weekly chance to present themselves to the public. Through Talentboek.nl, people could give financial support to young athletes (all with a talent status given by NOC*NSF). In total, this crowdfunding initiative produced more than € 250,000.

GeenPeil

GeenPeil is a project developed by the editors of GeenStijl to promote democracy in the Netherlands and the EU. As part of this project, they have successfully petitioned for a referendum on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Ukraine. The petition was signed by more than 450,000 people within six weeks. The referendum will take place on 6 April 2016.

Outlook for 2016

In 2016, TMG Landelijke Media will focus on realising more digital reach per brand and on further exploiting cross-selling opportunities with other brands within TMG. Because consumers differ greatly from each other, existing and new digital publications will be increasingly personalised though the smart use of data. Besides personalised content, digital media enable us to customise the various revenue models. The advantage of such an approach is that advertisers can communicate more effectively, using focused, differentiated marketing.

In order to achieve this, in 2016, all key brands will be digitally active on the various devices. To start with, the De Telegraaf website will be freshened up (better match with the new tabloid) and will get more video positions. This will be followed in the second phase by a complete renewal. Digital platforms will be added, including for DFT and Telesport, and investments will be made in a Metro app. In order to provide consumers with even more content, in the second half of 2016, TMG Landelijke Media expects to launch online TV for news and sports.

The commercial, B2C and editorial departments will be further professionalised. A new business unit, TMG Natives, will be set up, which will focus on the development of media and editorial productions (print, digital and video) commissioned by internal or external parties. New propositions and combined subscriptions will be developed in line with consumers’ wishes and requirements. In addition, synergies with other areas will be explored, with quick wins being picked up immediately.


Results of Holland Media Combinatie

Holland Media Combinatie makes regional dailies and weeklies, websites (including local websites) and apps. It also organises exhibitions and events, including for third parties. The main brands within this business unit are Noordhollands Dagblad, Haarlems Dagblad, IJmuider Courant, De Gooi- en Eemlander, Leidsch Dagblad, De Echo and Witte Weekbladen. In addition, Holland Media Combinatie publishes a large number of specials (e.g., regional specials) and magazines, including weekend magazine Vrij, funeral magazine Leven & Sterven, Alkmaar prachtstad, and new-build special Living in Holland. With these publications, Holland Media Combinatie offers consumers and advertisers a high-quality portfolio that is both accessible and distinctive. Our strong multimedia brands help to create a sense of community among people, companies and local authorities, as well as with the wider region. In this way, we make a contribution to encouraging active participation in the local community. At year-end 2015, Holland Media Combinatie had 513 employees. Its head office is in Alkmaar.

Results

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Subscriptions

53.5

55.1

-2.9

Single copy sales

1.8

2.1

-14.3

Advertisements

38.0

44.5

-14.6

B2B digital revenues

5.3

9.4

-43.6

Consumer digital revenues

2.5

1.3

92.3

E-commerce

0.5

0.7

-28.6

Other revenues

0.7

0.8

-12.5

Total

102.3

113.9

-10.2

Holland Media Combinatie’s revenues declined from € 113.9 million to € 102.3 million (down 10.2%). This was mainly due to a decline in print advertising revenues and a decrease in digital revenues from Dichtbij.nl, as well as due to portfolio adjustments (e.g., withdrawing the Sunday papers and issuing fewer weekly publications in Almere).

Subscription revenues

Subscription revenues were lower, due to an average decline in circulation of 4.4%. However, price increases implemented during the year meant that the decline in turnover was limited to 2.9%. All regional newspapers experienced a reduction in circulation of between 4% and 5%.

Advertising revenues

The lower advertising revenues were partly attributable to the portfolio changes mentioned above. Adjusted for this, advertising turnover was down by € 5.3 million, with the ​​Utrecht/Rotterdam region performing particularly poorly. In this region, the focus is expected to shift more to digital. To this end, a partnership was entered into with De Utrechtse Internet Courant at the end of 2015.

B2B digital revenues

B2B digital revenues were down significantly, entirely due to sluggish results at Dichtbij.nl. Some of these activities will be discontinued (for more details, see below).

Consumer digital revenues

Consumer digital revenues showed a sharp increase, mainly thanks to the introduction of an extra charge on top of the regular subscription fee for complete digital access to products as of 1 July 2014.

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Raw and auxiliary materials

16.4

17.4

-5.7

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

10.0

12.6

-20.6

Personnel costs

40.0

44.7

-10.5

Sales costs

2.7

3.1

-12.9

Other operating expenses

11.2

12.4

-9.7

Total

80.3

90.2

-11.0

Transport and distribution and subcontracted work

The cost of transportation and distribution and subcontracted work declined, mainly due to the portfolio changes mentioned above, a decline in circulations, lower advertising revenues, and lower paper and ink prices.

Personnel costs

The decline in personnel costs (-10.5%) was due to a decrease in the average number of FTEs of 125 (-19%). This was offset by higher costs for temporary employees and higher wage costs per FTE, mainly due to the departure of employees on relatively low wages. The personnel costs also include € 0.7 million in restructuring charges relating to the reorganisation at Dichtbij.nl.

Other operating expenses

Other operating costs were down, mainly due to lower lease costs as a result of fewer FTEs.

EBITDA

The contribution of Holland Media Combinatie to EBITDA in 2015 amounted to € 22.1 million, compared to € 23.7 million in 2014, with lower revenues not being able to be fully offset by lower costs.

Reach

The strong brands of Holland Media Combinatie together reach more than 1.7 million people via print and digital. On average, our print media (newspapers and door-to-door papers) reach 58% of the population in the regions. The number of people attracted by our digital brands is increasing. On average, our digital regional dailies have over 10 million page views every month. The brands of Holland Media Combinatie are clearly indispensable for the people who live in our distribution areas.

Milestones in 2015

In 2015, Holland Media Combinatie continued to implement its regional focus, while also playing an active part in synergy projects within TMG. Specifically, we focused on increasing our decisiveness in our front office, while working more efficiently in our back office.

Focus on consumer, key brands and core activities

Some of our firsts

One of our sports reporters in Alkmaar, together with German television, made secret recordings that showed how easy it is for runners to get their hands on doping (see text box). A Leidsch Dagblad reporter was on the spot within five minutes when a large construction crane and the bridge deck it was moving collapsed onto surrounding buildings in Alphen aan den Rijn. This enabled our reporter to get ‘inside’ the site of the accident before the police cordoned off the area. From that moment, Leidsch Dagblad followed all the developments in the story during the ensuing months. When baby corpses were found in Heerhugowaard, Noordhollands Dagblad made a respectful and moving account of the police investigation and the distress in the neighbourhood. Political stories covered by our publications in 2015 included the revelation by Noordhollands Dagblad of financial mismanagement and misogynistic behaviour in a number of municipalities, as a result of which an alderman had to resign. In Zaandam, residents and other media followed the coverage by Noordhollands Dagblad of a gangland killing that took place in broad daylight in a schoolyard. The same newspaper was first to discover that the municipality of Zaanstad had potentially damaged its bargaining power with Ikea, a story that was then taken up by national and other media. By mistake, the municipality had published on its website a draft agreement with Ikea, stating that the municipality would require Ikea to contribute € 3 million to the accessibility of the Zuiderhout industrial estate.

Sports reporter of the year
Marco Knippen, the Alkmaar-based sports reporter of Holland Media Combinatie, caused a sensation in 2015 with a series of stories about widespread use of doping, the suppression of positive doping tests, and corruption at the highest level of management within Kenyan athletics. He discovered a secret database of more than 12,000 abnormal blood levels in some 5,000 international athletes, including dozens of Dutch athletes. This example of investigative journalism was the result of a partnership with German television (ARD/ZDF), on the initiative of Knippen. The news articles and the related ARD/ZDF documentary attracted worldwide attention and also gave a boost to the current crisis within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Knippen was elected Sports Reporter of the Year by the Dutch Sports Press (NSP).

Regional organisational structure introduced

In 2015, Holland Media Combinatie implemented a regionally focused, decentralised organisational structure. This structure is built around five core regions:

• Noord-Holland (north of the Noordzeekanaal)

• Haarlem/Haarlemmermeer

• Leiden

• Gooi

• Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Almere.

In the new situation, the basis of the first four new clusters is formed by the dailies Noordhollands Dagblad, Haarlems Dagblad/IJmuider Courant, Leidsch Dagblad and De Gooi- en Eemlander. These also include the regional magazines. Each newspaper will have its own editor-in-chief and a commercial manager. Together, they will be responsible for serving consumers and advertisers in the region. This will enable us to best respond to regional and local opportunities. A general editor-in-chief will ensure cooperation among all Holland Media Combinatie’s titles. The fifth, new cluster consists of weeklies in Greater ​​Amsterdam (i.e., Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Almere).

Central news desk

Since February 2015, editorial staff of the newspapers of Holland Media Combinatie have been benefiting from the new central news desk within TMG. This means readers of our daily newspapers have even more relevant content at their disposal.

Reader satisfaction on the rise

The annual image survey carried out by Mirantes showed that reader satisfaction with our dailies increased in 2015, and that the time they spent reading rose to 45 minutes. In each region, Holland Media Combinatie newspaper brands occupy the No. 1 position in spontaneous brand awareness and top-of-mind awareness. In each region, our brands are preferred over all other regional news sources.

Regional fairs and specials

Holland Media Combinatie is developing partnerships with local parties with the aim of, together, reaching a wider audience in the region. For example, Holland Media Combinatie organises an annual Care Fair in Schagen, in association with a local care group. Similarly, in St. Bavo’s Church in Haarlem, Holland Media Combinatie organised a funeral fair. At a final meeting with the exhibitors, the professional organisation of the fair, its wide reach, and the networking opportunities for exhibitors were all rated very highly. In addition, successful specials and themed supplements to our daily and weekly newspapers were published, including several educational supplements and a 'branded content' supplement called Genieten (Enjoy), with Haarlems Dagblad. The supplement is also distributed in the Haarlem region to readers of De Telegraaf.

First place in Adformatie Christmas report

Holland Media Combinatie was ranked first in the category of newspaper publishers in the Adformatie annual Christmas report. Nationally operating media planners and advertisers together gave Holland Media Combinatie a 7.4 rating for, among other things, service, customer-responsiveness, and quality. Media planners also gave Holland Media Combinatie the highest rating (7.8) in the category of online and mobile advertising.

Sunday newspapers discontinued

In April 2015, Holland Media Combinatie discontinued nine loss-making titles: the Sunday newspapers in northern Noord-Holland, Alkmaar and surroundings, Kennemerland, Zaandam and surroundings, Purmerend, Waterland and Leiden. With its remaining weekday titles and brands, Holland Media Combinatie can still offer advertisers excellent relevant alternatives to reach their target audiences.

New setup for Dichtbij.nl

At the end of 2015, it was announced that the activities of Dichtbij.nl will be discontinued in Utrecht and in the core region (i.e., Noord-Holland and parts of Zuid-Holland). In Noord-Brabant, Haaglanden and Drechtsteden, Dichtbij.nl’s activities will continue. The reason for this decision was the poor results and Holland Media Combinatie’s strategic choice (in line with TMG’s new strategy) to develop new hyperlocal initiatives under strong core brands, with a focus on digital (see below). The profit-making activities in Noord-Brabant, Haaglanden and Drechtsteden will be merged into a single office in Eindhoven.

Accelerated digital growth

News apps and regional dailies renewed

In the year under review, the news apps of Noord-Hollands Dagblad, Haarlems Dagblad, IJmuider Courant, Leidsch Dagblad and De Gooi- and Eemlander were updated. Following the launch, the new apps soon ranked sky high on the free-download hit lists; in a very short time, they had been downloaded more than 100,000 times. By keeping readers up to date, 24 hours a day, of local, national and international news through these apps (on top of the dailies’ websites and online newspaper), Holland Media Combinatie is again adding value to the dailies.

Hyperlocal news concept launched

In 2015, Holland Media Combinatie started preparations for a new hyperlocal news initiative, in close collaboration with De Utrechtse Internet Courant. It brings news down to postcode level. Print remains important in this concept, but at a lower frequency, while digital will increase. The concept was launched in Rotterdam and Utrecht at the end of 2015. It will serve as a basis for the roll-out of hyperlocal apps in Holland Media Combinatie's core region.

Developing new revenue models

Hyperlocal offers more options

The development of new hyperlocal content for desktop and mobile offers advertisers a new way to approach their target audiences. New marketing and tariff models based on this new hyperlocal concept will be developed in 2016.

Improved gross reach thanks to CPM

In 2015, a new CPM pricing model was introduced (see for more details the section on TMG Landelijke Media). This makes it easier for advertisers to buy cross-media packages from TMG, and it enables Holland Media Combinatie to offer advertisers improved gross reach.

ProMille Media launched

From 1 January 2016, BDUmedia, NDC Mediagroep, Media Groep Limburg and Holland Media Combinatie form a one-stop shop for the national advertising market for regional dailies under the name of ProMille Media. As of February 2016, the door-to-door newspapers of the respective publishers will also join the new grouping, to be followed by the online brands. In this way, ProMille Media provides advertisers with the convenience and expertise they need to achieve the best results with regard to local and regional target groups.

Increasing efficiency

One editorial system

In 2015, Holland Media Combinatie joined the dailies in switching to CCI Newsgate, the new central editorial system. This system and its advantages are explained in more detail in the section on TMG Landelijke Media.

Thousands of new customer data for HMC

In 2015, preparations were started on a new Customer Relationship Management system to be shared by Holland Media Combinatie and TMG Landelijke Media. The new system will be taken into operation in 2016. This efficiency move means Holland Media Combinatie will have access to a lot of new relevant customer data. This will enable Holland Media Combinatie to create a uniquely detailed picture of its customers. The new arrangement will also open up new opportunities for tailoring content to readers’ and advertisers’ needs. In addition, Holland Media Combinatie’s Customer Contact Centre has merged with that of TMG Landelijke Media.

Centralised advertising design

At the end of 2015, preparations were made to centralise newspaper composition and advertising design within TMG. Holland Media Combinatie will also take part in this. New IT systems have been put in place, which make it possible to deploy local production partners on a flexible basis, while customers have access to a self-service portal. Radio commercials and video can also be processed through the new system.

Investing in people and culture

Expanding online expertise

In the field of ​​training and development, Holland Media Combinatie is making the shift to digital. For example, in 2015, sales staff underwent online marketing and sales training, making them more aware of changing media consumption patterns. In addition, talented employees were encouraged and supported to develop their knowledge and skills across TMG.

Ideas from the inside

In 2015, employees were explicitly involved in helping to create our new business plans. We organised special interactive events, at which colleagues could discuss their ideas for new business initiatives. Regional managers and employees, together with managers of the central departments, were given responsibility for creating plans for their titles, contributing to well-thought-through plans for 2016. By taking this approach way, management has made it clear that innovation belongs to everyone, and that every good idea is worth listening to. This results in a stimulating and transparent working environment.

Engaged with society

Well-attended Readers Day

Holland Media Combinatie invests in a long-term relationship with its readers. On the occasion of Readers’ Day in September 2015, we welcomed more than 7,500 engaged and interested people. They were given a look behind the scenes, where they were introduced to reporters, editors and columnists.

Showing interest in each other

All our titles continuously demonstrate their engagement with their immediate surroundings. For instance, in a special series of articles, Holland Media Combinatie in Noord-Holland featured sustainable developments and trends, showcasing, among other things, the Miss Green fashion line, and Dopper, a range of reusable coloured water bottles. During the year, much attention was paid to developments surrounding the decentralisation of care and its impact in the municipalities. Developments in the refugee situation were also closely monitored, with Holland Media Combinatie working closely with the municipality of Schagen. The editorial team made nine consecutive major productions on emergency shelter in the local sports hall. The local media in Noord-Holland wrote about drug use by young people in the area. In Den Helder, they closely followed the development and construction of the controversial new theatre, Kampanje, on the historic Willemsoord quay.

In action for charity

For many years, our regional offices have initiated campaigns for food banks and similar charities, and 2015 was no exception. For instance, Dagblad Zaanstreek, asked local people to paint their own impression of the area. The resulting pictures were then auctioned to support the rebuilding of a riding school in Zaandam, which had been destroyed by vandals. Each year Leidsch Dagblad takes part in Lef (‘Courage’), a competition for entrepreneurs. This newspaper also helps Fonds 1818 to distribute grants for good initiatives throughout the Leiden area and surroundings. Some 120 projects are reviewed each year. These are just a few examples of the charities supported by our brands.

Outlook for 2016

In 2016, Holland Media Combinatie will invest significantly in developing its core brands with more digitally-oriented propositions. With respect to print, we will continue to optimise our weekly portfolio, which will be enhanced with digital hyperlocal news initiatives. Since Holland Media Combinatie as a whole is now increasingly able to offer customised content, it will focus on specific customer needs. In this way, we are fully meeting the 24/7 news needs of consumers and advertisers in the region.


Results of Sky Radio Group

With its brands Sky Radio, Radio Veronica and Classic FM, Sky Radio Group is the largest commercial radio company in the Netherlands. Its target group is 10+ (Source: NLO). Besides regular radio, Sky Radio Group offers online streaming music services. Sky Radio Group distinguishes itself through its expertise, creativity and proactive approach. From technology to sales, and from programming to marketing, everything is conceived, developed, implemented and analysed in-house, including new forms of distribution, marketing campaigns, websites and promotions. Through its extensive radio portfolio, Sky Radio Group reaches approximately 4.9 million listeners. Its music propositions are offered across brands to users of other TMG brands. At year-end, Sky Radio Group employed 99 FTEs. Its head office is located in Naarden.

Results

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Advertisements

27.6

33.3

-17.1

B2B digital revenues

0.4

0.4

-

Other revenues

2.7

5.1

-47.1

Total

30.7

38.8

-20.9

Advertising revenues

The revenues of Sky Radio Group, virtually all derived from advertising, declined from € 38.8 million to € 30.7 million (down 20.9%). The main reasons for the decline are the shrinking total net advertising market and the further concentration of power with regard to the procurement of radio advertising. Radio Veronica particularly was faced with disappointing advertising revenues in the aftermath of its shrunken market share in 2014. The joint gross share of spending of the total available radio budget spent at Sky Radio Group fell from 21.1% to 17.1%.

Other revenues

Other revenues in 2014 included a revenue of € 2.0 million from the sale of the licence of MyRadio.

Operating expenses

Personnel costs

Personnel costs declined by 4.8%, mainly due to a fall in the number of FTEs of 6.

Sales costs

Sales costs increased by € 1.6 million due to extra marketing costs spent on strengthening the brands and increasing 'stickiness'.

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

6.0

6.0

-

Personnel costs

7.9

8.3

-4.8

Sales costs

8.5

6.9

23.2

Other operating expenses

1.8

1.6

12.5

Total

24.2

22.8

6.1

EBITDA

EBITDA amounted to € 6.5 million (2014: € 16.0 million). The decline compared to 2014 can mainly be attributed to the aforementioned declining advertising revenues and higher marketing costs, as well as the one-off revenue from the sale of the licence of MyRadio in 2014.

Market share and reach

Among the Dutch population aged 10 and older, the total reach of the radio medium dropped from 89.6% to 89.2%. The average weekly reach of Sky Radio Group’s collective radio stations in this target group decreased slightly, from an average of 33.3% to 33.1%. Of the three main stations, Sky Radio has the largest reach, with 3.4 million unique listeners in the 10+ target group every week. Sky Radio is performing particularly well in the segment ‘Women aged 20–34’ (a 10-year record: 15.1% market share). With a weekly average of 1.4 million unique listeners, Radio Veronica managed to stabilise its market share in the target group 20–49 at 6.1% in 2015, showing a strong recovery in the last measurement period for its core target group (men aged 35–49). In the 10+ target group, Classic FM's market share rose to 1.8% on average compared to 1.6% in 2014, which was an increase of no less than 13% (soureL NLO/GfK); Classic FM had 677,000 unique listeners every week in 2015 (7% more than in 2014).

Milestones in 2015

Focus on consumer, key brands and core activities

Sky Radio remains strong media brand

For Sky Radio, significant investments were made in the brand campaign, whose main purpose was to create a younger brand image. In a study carried out by the international brand consultancy Interbrand, Sky Radio is the only radio brand that appears in the Top 25 strongest media brands in 2015 (ranking above brands such as Netflix and Spotify). In a market research carried out by EURIB (European Institute for Brand Management), Sky Radio emerged as the most indispensable radio brand in the Netherlands. The December month, in which Sky Radio presents itself as the Christmas station, was successful, with an average weekly reach of more than 3.6 million listeners. This means that the station was again the ‘reach leader’ in the Netherlands during the November/December measurement period.

Radio Veronica adjusts programming

Radio Veronica’s renewed programming started in February 2015. The adjustments were based on the wishes and needs expressed by listeners. Jeroen van Inkel moved to the early morning, while Erik de Zwart is is now on between 10am and 12 noon; in the afternoons and evenings there is room for new talent and live music. The well-known hit parades remain the main pillars of the radio station, the most important one being the Top 1000 Allertijden (‘All-time Top 1000’) in December, which attracted more than 2.5 million unique listeners (Source: RadioCall 2015).

Four seasons at Classic FM

In 2015, Classic FM focused on the four seasons, with a special playlist for each season, a CD, special promotions, and a live event starting in the autumn: Najaarsnoten Live (also shown on YouTube). At the end of December, the classical Top 1000 was back on Classic FM. This was sponsored by MoneYou, in a branded partnership. On 28 December, the Top 1000 went live in the Olofs Chapel at NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, a very exclusive concert for a select number of listeners and business contacts, who enjoyed a performance by harpist Lavinia Meijer in an intimate, informal setting.

Outdoor campaign in the ‘classical heart’

To enhance the visibility of Classic FM, in December 2015, a new local outdoor branding campaign was organised in Amsterdam, in the ‘classical heart’ of the city around Museumplein and Concertgebouw.

SAIL

Sky Radio Group was also present at SAIL, including as official partner of the IJ concert featuring Miss Montreal and Kensington in the Music Marina. Classic FM sponsored ‘Classical Waves’. Radio Veronica organised an evening on the iconic Veronica ship with a live broadcast of Countdown Café and a drive-in show with the well-known DJs.

Licensing permit lawsuit

On 8 January 2015, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) issued a ruling in the legal proceedings instituted by Sky Radio Group against the State. The lawsuit related to the € 20.4 million fee that Sky Radio Group is required to pay for the FM licensing permit covering the period 2011–2017 for the qualified A2 Lot (Radio Veronica). The CBb ruled in favour of Sky Radio Group, stating that the valuation of this FM frequency was based on incorrect assumptions. Despite several meetings in 2015 between Sky Radio Group and the State, at the end of 2015, the actual implications of the ruling were still unclear.

Accelerated digital growth

Growing online reach of all stations

In 2015, all Sky Radio Group stations, including the sub-stations, saw their online reach grow compared to 2014. Radio Veronica proactively launched innovative sub-stations, such as Comedy Week. During the Christmas period, the number of people listening to the Christmas playlist on Sky Radio’s website broke through the 100,000 barrier. On average, these listeners were online for one hour and 43 minutes. The average number of unique listeners per day of the online Sky Radio Christmas Station rose by 54.6% compared to 2014.

Online audio platforms in development

In 2015, Sky Radio Group decided to discontinue the brand name MyRadio for its personalised music streams. The technology of MyRadio is being developed further, but now in the form of online audio platforms, using the existing brands. These audio platforms will be rolled out in 2016.

New Classic FM app

In October 2015, Classic FM launched its renewed app. With this app users can listen to Classic FM’s music in an even more user-friendly way. Until the end of December 2015, the number of downloads increased by 3.6%.

Developing new revenue models

Added value for consumers and advertisers

Alongside the development of the new online audio platforms, Sky Radio Group gives high priority to setting up new business models, such as paid online music services for consumers and data-enriched propositions for advertisers. The added value of these models will strengthen the brand value and bring our image up to date.

Increasing efficiency

Making the most of synergy with TMG

In the year under review, Sky Radio Group collaborated more with other business units within TMG. The online automated trading of Sky Radio Group was implemented at Group level. In addition, together with TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie, we worked on a combined sales approach. As a first step, the three business units went on a joint trading tour, visiting the most important media agencies. To make this internal collaboration more successful, Sky Radio Group exchanged some employees with the other two business units.

Investing in people and culture

Strengthening the management team

The management team of Sky Radio Group was strengthened in order to be better able to pursue cost efficiency and profitable growth. In addition, leaders and high potentials participated in TMG’s M3 programme.

Engaged with society

Christmas Tree For Charity

Through the annual Sky Radio action ‘Christmas Tree for Charity’ (also broadcast on Sky Radio’s website), Dutch celebrities were able to win money for a charity of their choice. In total, € 25,000 was donated to charities such as Diabetes Fonds, Stichting DON, Hartstichting and Voedselbanken Nederland. In addition, Sky Radio gave away advertising time to these charities worth € 25,000.

Radio Veronica campaigns

Radio Veronica set up two large public campaigns. The first was ‘Operatie Victorie’. Together with the Dutch army, people were mobilised to help associations and sports clubs with small chores. The second was ‘VeroniKlaas’, through which donations were collected for Actie Pepernoot, with the aim of giving children growing up in poor families in the Netherlands a present for Sinterklaas, the traditional gift-giving event on 5 December. In total, almost 55,000 children received a present.

Outlook for 2016

On 15 January 2016, TMG announced a strategic collaboration with Talpa in the area of radio, TV and Over The Top (OTT). As part of this collaboration, a new radio company will be set up, in which TMG contributes the radio stations Sky Radio and Radio Veronica, while Talpa contributes the radio stations Radio 538 and Slam!. TMG will acquire an interest of 22.85% in this new radio company. TMG's interest can be increased to up to 25% if certain targets are met. In the coming months, the consequences of this collaboration between TMG and Talpa for Sky Radio Group will become clearer. For this purpose, a carefully planned process will be set up and implemented. TMG and Talpa expect to be able to provide more clarity in this regard in the second quarter.

Until there is more clarity, Sky Radio Group will continue to invest in its brands to further expand its reach. In addition, the focus will be on the accelerated development of the online audio platforms. Finally, the programming of the stations will be even better matched with the wishes expressed by listeners. Sky Radio Group’s own listeners’ panel was redesigned in 2015; this panel will be consulted on a regular basis. Moreover, wherever possible, Sky Radio Group will work even more closely together with the other business units within TMG and the holding company, in order to save costs and exploit more cross-selling opportunities.


Results of Keesing Media Group

Keesing Media Group publishes puzzle magazines and digital puzzles. The Group is active in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Norway, the United Kingdom and Italy, with strong brands such as Denksport, 10 voor Taal, Jan Meulendijks, Win!, Sport Cerebral, Megastar and Tankesport. The group has a smart matrix structure: control is exercised from the functional group in combination with a country structure. Approximately 80% of Keesing Media Group’s activities take place outside the Netherlands. A t year-end 2015, Keesing Media Group employed 276 FTEs. Since 2015, its head office has been at Basisweg in Amsterdam.

Results

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Subscriptions

4.0

4.0

-

Single copy sales

65.2

60.8

7.2

Advertisements

-

0.1

-100.0

Printing

0.2

0.1

100.0

Other revenues

1.7

3.1

-45.2

Total

71.1

68.1

4.4

Revenues increased from € 68.1 million in 2014 to € 71.1 million in 2015. This growth is mainly attributable to the expansion of the product portfolio, including colouring books for adults, weekly titles in Spain and Germany, and expansion into Italy, the UK and Norway.

Other revenues include mainly B2B sales of puzzle materials.

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Raw and auxiliary materials

0.1

1.7

-94.1

Transport and distribution costs

1.5

1.6

-6.2

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

18.5

15.5

19.4

Personnel costs

20.0

18.0

11.1

Sales costs

4.0

3.7

8.2

Other operating expenses

6.4

8.3

-22.9

Total

50.5

48.8

3.5

Raw and auxiliary materials, transport and distribution, and subcontracted work

Due to the higher revenues, which were primarily volume-driven, the costs of raw and auxiliary materials, transport and distribution, and outsourced work were also higher. A shift is visible from raw and auxiliary materials to outsourced work as a result of the closure of the printing plant in France in 2014, after which the printing of all puzzle books was outsourced.

Personnel costs

Personnel costs increased, due to additional staff required for colouring books, digital development and the development of databases.

Other operating expenses

Other operating costs were lower, thanks to greater efficiency in the core countries (resulting from shared use of the same puzzle systems), further centralisation and the integration of Megastar and Keesing France in France.

EBITDA

EBITDA amounted to € 20.6 million, an increase of 7.0% compared to 2014 (€ 19.3 million).

Market share and reach

In France, for the first time in years, the volume of the paper puzzle market grew marginally. The market share of both Sports Cérébral and Megastar grew. In the Netherlands, thanks to product innovation and a stronger focus on sales, Keesing Media Group managed to win market share, and for the first time in five years to return to volume growth.

In Belgium, Keesing Media Group also achieved growth in revenues and profit.

In Denmark, a great deal of work was put into further optimising the product portfolio. Many new titles were launched, and insufficiently profitable titles were discontinued. In addition, various products were modified and relaunched. For 2016, a contract was entered into with a new distributor. From the organisation in Denmark, new operations were launched in Norway.

In Sweden, Germany and Spain, the product portfolios were optimised. Here too, insufficiently profitable titles were discontinued and new titles were launched.

Milestones in 2015

In 2015, Keesing Media Group focused on further European expansion, digital innovation and greater efficiency.

Focus consumer, key brands and core activities

From seven to ten countries

In 2015, Keesing Media Group started operations in the UK, Italy and Norway, bringing the number of countries in which the Group is now active to ten. This makes the Group the largest player in the European market.

Colouring books for adults conquer Europe

Keesing Media Group is one of the driving forces behind the hype in colouring books for adults. During the past year, we have also successfully introduced this contemporary and accessible form of entertainment in other countries.

New puzzle: Tectonic

In 2015, Keesing Media Group launched a new puzzle similar to the popular Sudoku, called Tectonic. This puzzle has now not only appeared in print in seven countries, but a Freemium App has also been launched.

Improving relationships with distributors

Keesing Media Group made extra investments in 2015 in improving its relationships with distributors and retail chains. In the Netherlands, it was decided to put more emphasis on sales rather than marketing, for which purpose the team of sales promoters was enlarged.

Accelerated growth

New digital strategy

Because the demand for digital puzzle products is growing, a new digital strategy has been developed, with a focus on e-commerce (subscription and single-copy sales through local webshops), apps and combinations of print and digital. In 2015, we took the first tangible steps towards accelerating digital growth. Specifically, we launched a new Sudoku app for mobile, the new Tectonic puzzle app, and several new websites. Keesing Media Group also entered into a number of new partnerships, which are expected to lead to new digital activities in 2016.

Increasing efficiency

Smart matrix organisation

In the year under review, Keesing Media Group introduced a new, smart matrix organisational structure. Additional cost savings were also realised in France, by further integrating the activities of Megastar and Sports Cérébral.

Synergy in systems

Keesing Media Group continued to reap the automation benefits of its puzzle systems. In Belgium, the systems for determining the size of print runs were optimised. This resulted in fewer returns. In 2016, these systems will also be implemented in the Netherlands.

Centralised product innovation

Keesing Media Group is continuously working to optimise and innovate its product portfolio. To facilitate this effort group-wide, an International Development Committee (IDC) has been set up. Regular market research is also carried out to carefully monitor customer needs throughout Europe. To ensure the closest possible fit with customers’ needs, the Group uses alpha and beta testing techniques in developing digital products.

Collaboration within TMG

In 2015, Keesing Media Group again made puzzles for various TMG brands, such as De Telegraaf and the regional newspapers. The group also works with Privé on special publications and marketing campaigns. For their promotion, Keesing Media Group benefits from the reach of various TMG brands, such as De Telegraaf and Sky Radio Group.

Investing in people and culture

International leadership programme

The Dutch senior managers of Keesing Media Group participate in TMG’s M3 leadership programme. On top of that, Keesing Media Group practices an independent leadership progamme to promote international cooperation and to take full advantage of the benefits of the new organisational structure. Special attention is paid to the cultural differences between the countries.

Number of employees unchanged

The number of employees (FTEs) remained unchanged in 2015. Although savings were made thanks to further automation, centralisation and the integration of Megastar and KFR, these savings were offset by additional capacity required for producing colouring books for the European market, international expansion, digital development and accelerating the implementation of puzzle systems.

Engaged with society

Engaged with people and the environment

Keesing Media Group’s products contribute to the relaxation and wellbeing of people in various age groups. For example, our puzzles help young children to develop their skills and problem-solving abilities. At the same time, our puzzles enable older people to continue training their brains – something that has been scientifically proven to contribute to the vitality of brain functions. Keesing Media Group puzzle books are printed on PEFC paper. In 2015, the Group made a number of charitable donations, to a school in India and to various food banks.

Outlook for 2016

In 2016, Keesing Media Group will focus on further growth by expanding the portfolio in new countries and scaling up the activities launched in 2015. To this end, investments will made in additional sales capacity and extra capacity for building various language databases. The Group will be actively considering opportunities for international expansion, both organically and through acquisitions. In line with our new digital strategy, e-commerce activities will be launched, as well as new single- and multi-player apps and digital bundles – where possible, with partners. Keesing Media Group will continue to innovate within its existing product portfolio, so that we can, as always, surprise customers and provide them with an exciting and relaxing pastime.

Furthermore, in 2016, Keesing Media Group will focus on further increasing its efficiency in its core markets. This will include continuing to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by automation, rolling out the new system for determining print-run size in the Netherlands, and investing in the relationships with distributors and retailers.


Facilitating Services

Facilitating Services is responsible for the printing plants, distribution, supply chain management, procurement and the shared service activities of TMG. During 2015, Facilitating Services was expanded to accommodate the Financial Shared Service Centre (taken over from the holding company as of 1 June 2015), the Contact Centres (taken over from TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie as of 1 September) and the shared back-office operations (taken over from TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie as of 1 December 2015)1. Facilitating Services unburdens the various business units by coordinating and performing non-core activities, and by supporting the development of new revenue models. 

Results

Revenues

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Printing

31.1

37.5

-17.1

Distribution

63.0

68.4

-7.9

Other revenues

1.1

0.2

450.0

Total

95.2

106.1

-10.3

Revenues from manufacture and distribution

Revenues deriving from Facilitating Services’ manufacture and distribution activities result from assignments undertaken for third parties as well as for the business units TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie. Facilitating Services charges TMG Landelijke Media and Holland Media Combinatie for the variable printing costs, plus a charge for distribution. Revenues from manufacture and distribution from assignments for third parties amounted to € 21.4 million in 2015, slightly less than in 2014 (€ 21.9 million), mainly due to lower volumes.

Other revenues

Other revenues include gains on the sale of buildings.

Operating expenses

x € 1 million

2015

2014

%

Raw and auxiliary materials

28.8

36.6

-21.3

Transport and distribution costs

55.6

60.4

-7.9

Subcontracted work and technical production costs

0.1

-

-

Personnel costs

42.7

24.9

71.5

Other operating expenses

15.5

16.7

-7.2

Total

142.7

138.6

3.0

Costs of raw and auxiliary materials and transport and distribution

The costs of raw and auxiliary materials and of transport and distribution were down, due to lower volumes on the one hand (mainly due to the discontinuation of Sp!ts by TMG Landelijke Media and portfolio changes at Holland Media Combinatie) and lower purchase prices for paper and ink on the other hand.

Personnel costs

The higher personnel costs result almost entirely from the reorganisation of the printing plants (see note below), for which a restructuring provision of € 16.1 million was taken in 2015. For the reorganisation of other parts of the company, a € 0.9 million restructuring charge was recognised.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses fell by € 1.2 million, mainly due the lower costs of maintaining the printing plants. This was due to the reduction in the number of presses and the closure of the printing plant in Alkmaar.

EBITDA

EBITDA in 2015 amounted to € 47.5 million negative, compared to € 32.5 million negative in 2014. Excluding restructuring charges, EBITDA amounted to € 30.5 million negative, an improvement of € 2.0 million compared to 2014. This was mainly due to the aforementioned gain on the sale of buildings and savings relating to maintenance costs.

Milestones in 2015

Restructuring the printing plants

A significant change in the organisation has been the restructuring of the printing plants. Changing media usage has made this necessary, as the market has been suffering from overcapacity for quite some time. Printing capacity in Amsterdam was merged and the printing plant in Almaar has been closed. While some of the printing volumes will be outsourced, the printing capacity in Amsterdam will partly be maintained. This should improve efficiency and flexibility. In line with this train of thought, consideration is now also being given to outsourcing print volumes. (See the section ‘Our people’ for more information on this reorganisation.)

New partners

In the year under review, Facilitating Services carried out a review of the cost savings that could potentially be made by expanding cooperation with existing partners (e.g., in the field of ​​distribution). To maintain sufficient scale in the distribution network, new contracts have been concluded with De Persgroep and Mediahuis (Media Group Limburg).

Centralising procurement

Important steps were taken in 2015 to conduct procurement TMG-wide where possible and to further professionalise in this field. This gives TMG a stronger negotiating position with suppliers, and all businesses can benefit collectively from economies of scale.

At the same time, sustainability was made an integral part of TMG’s procurement policy, and TMG’s Code of Conduct for suppliers was updated. Suppliers who do not sign this Code of Conduct can be excluded from procurement procedures. Such exclusion did not prove necessary in 2015. Sustainability has now become a fixed feature of RFP processes.

Improving shared services

In 2015, Facilitating Services paid considerable attention to the further professionalisation of shared services. The focus was on the launch of improvements within the Financial Shared Service Centre, such as increasing transparency in processes and working methodically. Attention was also given to upgrading the security of Campus Amsterdam and embedding sustainability in Facilitating Services.

Implementing ISO 14001

In 2015, a start was made on implementing an environmental management system based on the ISO 14001 standard. This particularly affects the processes within Facilitating Services. (For more details, see the chapter on Sustainability.)

Outlook for 2016

Our goal is to bring more non-core activities under the responsibility of Facilitating Services. In 2016, Facilitating Services will focus on increasing the efficiency and quality of internal services on the one hand, and on further professionalising all shared services on the other. Our objective is to increase the flexibility of our distribution costs and to continue to improve the working environment of TMG employees.


IT

The importance of IT for a media company such as TMG continues to grow. In the past, IT was mainly seen as providing greater efficiency and control in back offices. Now, however, it is essential for digitising the product range, building multimedia customer relationships, and maximising the total reach of TMG media. In 2015, we took a number of important steps further in this process. As of 1 January 2016, IT is an independent business unit within TMG. It includes the departments of Infrastructure, Applications and Development, as well as various corporate departments, including Information Management, Security & Risk, Vendor Management, Business Intelligence and Architecture.

Unique views of customers

The wide reach of TMG’s brands provide us with a wealth of customer data. By processing and combining this data in the right way, TMG is able to form unique profiles of its customers. Registering and tracking customer preferences enables us to offer customers better deals, with a greater chance of receiving a positive response. Analysing customer data also helps us to develop more effective strategies in commerce and marketing. In 2015, we started preparations to compile this unique 360-degree view of our customers from the many sources of data at our disposal. In 2016, substantial investments will be made to further develop this view of our customers and to increase our added value for consumers and advertisers.

Privacy and security

TMG manages a lot of private information about its customers, partners and employees. To make sure we treat this information responsibly – and to monitor that we do so – we have drawn up a Code of Conduct for Personal Data. Employees are expected to deal with data safely, reliably, carefully and at all times in accordance with the law and the Code of Conduct for Personal Data. Where possible, a link to TMG’s privacy statement will be placed on public TMG websites.

The status of the IT environment also makes TMG vulnerable. In 2015, we carried out further investigations into our security, and additional measures will be rolled out in 2016 to properly address all risks and obligations regarding data protection legislation.

Collaboration with Apple en IBM

During the year, TMG announced a partnership with IBM and Apple, with the aim of enabling TMG to build an infrastructure that, on the one hand, will improve the user experience for consumers (based on expertise from Apple) and, on the other hand, to collect and access more relevant insights and data (based on expertise from IBM). In 2015, improvements were made in our basic IT facilities, particularly with regard to workplaces, infrastructure and the hosting of business applications.

IT Shared Service Centre focuses on further professionalisation

In 2015, the establishment of the IT Shared Service Centre was completed. The aim of the Centre is to create economies of scale, knowledge advantages and lower costs by bundling and centralising IT activities. In addition, applications for our core business processes were updated. These will be followed in 2016 by new applications for content management and customer relationship management. This will mean that the systems for all our national and regional media will be fully aligned.

This centralisation will make transparency in decision-making, prioritisation of activities and the performance level of the IT organisation increasingly important. Partly for this reason, at the end of 2015, an IT Board was set up, in which TMG’s management will be members. The Board will discuss key IT issues and decisions, formulate and monitor IT planning and prioritisation, while taking into account other ongoing projects and programmes.

Beginning in 2016, a completely new IT management team will gradually replace the present interim set-up. The new team will continue to build on the professionalism of the entire IT organisation and develop a business-oriented culture, so that the IT department can assume its role as the engine of transformation and growth.

Outlook for 2016

IT’s focus in 2016 will be on the further development of the basic IT infrastructure and on cost control. This will involve a thorough rationalisation of applications. The number of applications will be reduced significantly, reducing complexity and enabling better cost control.

Furthermore, in 2016, the concept of ‘architecture-based’ working will be developed. This means that changes are controlled and managed optimally, based on an all-in, total vision of how IT can best help achieve the business strategy. This involves looking at infrastructures, applications, processes and organisational structure. Architecture-based working forces the IT department to engage in a dialogue with the various business units in a fundamentally different way. The new management team and information managers will play an important role in this approach.

As part of the cost control measures, as of 1 January 2016, IT costs will be budgeted and accounted for TMG-wide. This means that IT costs and contracts will be able to be managed centrally. The focus in 2016 will be on the consolidation of contracts and the realisation of cost savings. In addition, through participation in various TMG-wide projects, IT will contribute to the further innovation and digitalisation of TMG’s brands.


The TMG share

TMG is listed on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange and is part of the small-cap index (AScX). As at 31 December 2015, TMG’s issued and paid-up share capital consisted of 46,350,000 ordinary shares and 960 priority shares, with a collective market value of € 173.8 million. The number of ordinary shares remained unchanged in 2015. The ISIN code is NL0000386605.

Distribution of share ownership and protection of control

In connection with the disclosure of major holdings in listed companies, the register maintained by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) contains details of the following investors with direct interests of over 3% as at 31 December 2015:

Ordinary shares

2015

2014

Bech N.V. (VP Exploitatie N.V.)

33.9%

30.5%

Stichting Administratiekantoor van Aandelen Telegraaf Media Groep N.V.

63.6%

62.7%

Telegraaf Media Groep N.V. Share Administration Trust holds the shares for the purpose of administration. Within the Trust, the following holders of depositary receipts reported an interest of more than 3%:

Depositary receipts

2015

2014

Bech N.V. (VP Exploitatie N.V.)

7.4%

2.0%

Dasym Investment Strategies B.V.

20.1%

20.1%

Delta Lloyd

7.1%

7.1%

Navitas

5.0%

5.0%

Tweedy Browne Company LLC

4.7%

4.7%

Tweedy Browne Fund Inc

4.1%

4.1%

For an overview of all outstanding and potentially available defensive measures, see ‘TMG Preference Shares Trust’ and ‘TMG Priority Share Management Trust’ under Other information.

Share price trends and key figures per share

The TMG share closed the year at a price of € 3.75. This was 38% lower than the share price on 31 December 2014 (€ 6.09). The highest closing price of 2015 was reached on 15 April: € 6.49. The total volume traded of the TMG share on Euronext Amsterdam in 2015 was 2.5% higher than in 2014.

Share price trends and trading volume TMG ordinary shares

Key figures per ordinary share

 

2015

2014

 

 

 

Dividend

tbd

€ 0.00

Earnings per share

-€ 0.49

-€ 0.73

Highest price

€ 6.49

€ 9.11

Lowest price

€ 3.60

€ 5.61

Closing price

€ 3.75

€ 6.09

Dividend policy

In 2014, regarding the dividend policy it was determined that the payment of the dividend was made dependent on the normalised operating cash flow, i.e., normalised EBITDA of total operations (continued operations and discontinued operation in the year) subject to the deduction of the annual licence fees owed by Sky Radio Group, taxes, interest and replacement investments. The basic principle is a payout of 30%–40% of this net operating cash flow. On this basis, dividend is proposed of € 0.16 per share. No dividend was paid over the year 2014 .

Investor relations policy

TMG aims to inform shareholders, investors and the market on a regular basis. On our corporate website all public information can be found with respect to our performance, strategy and activities. When the Executive Board holds a presentation for analysts, investors and other interested parties, such as on the occasion of the publication of the annual accounts, this presentation will be audio broadcast live on this website. The audiocasts and associated presentations can also be consulted after the event.

Financial calendar

 

 

Date

Latest date of registration for AGM

24 March 2016

Annual General Meeting

21 April 2016

Ex dividend

25 April 2016

Record date

26 April 2016

Dividend payment

28 April 2016

Half year results 2016

29 July 2016


Risk ­management

Risk management is an integral part of TMG’s daily business operations. TMG’s internal risk management and control system is promoted by top-level management and is designed to ensure that the strategic, operational, financial and compliance risks run by the company are not only transparent in themselves but are also managed transparently. TMG sees a properly functioning internal risk management and control system as an essential management tool in enabling it to achieve its strategic goals.

TMG’s internal risk management and control system

The internal risk management and control system is described in the Risk Management Policy. The aim of this policy is to identify, assess and manage events (opportunities and threats) that may affect the achievement of the Group’s strategy and objectives.

The internal risk management and control system is based on the COSO ERM framework, which distinguishes strategic, operational, financial and compliance risks.

An important factor in the context of risk management is TMG’s risk appetite. Following the definition of COSO, this means, for TMG: 'The degree of risk (at a broad level) that TMG is willing to accept in pursuit of value. It reflects TMG’s risk management philosophy, and affects TMG’s culture and style of functioning. Risk appetite determines how resources are allocated, and helps TMG to focus its organisation, people and processes on developing the infrastructure it needs to be able to respond to risks effectively and monitor them.'

Accepting an appropriate level of risk will enable TMG to optimise the allocation of its resources. This is particularly desirable given current developments within the company. On the basis of our objectives, risks and resources, TMG makes well-considered decisions every day. These decisions are taken in line with the strategy defined by the Executive Board, which includes the associated risk appetite.

The table below shows how TMG categorises its internal risk management and control system.

Risks

Aimed at

Objectives

Risk appetite

Strategic

Achieving strategic objectives 

Significant position in the domains where our brands are located, increasing consumer reach, sustainable profit

Low to high, depending on long-term benefits

Operational

Achieving operational objectives, including effectiveness and efficiency

 

Partnerships, flexible IT

Low to medium (medium with respect to partnerships)

Financial

Managing guidelines pertaining to financial statements

 

Compliant with financial reporting legislation

Low

Compliance

Managing compliance guidelines and legislation

 

Leadership
Compliant with laws and regulations

Low

The internal risk management and control system forms part of TMG’s planning and control cycle. This means that risk management is not a one-off event but is a continuous process. For its key processes, TMG follows a three-year cycle, as follows:

Year 1: Risk Self-assessment

Together with key parties involved in the process, the process owner performs a comprehensive risk self-assessment. They jointly evaluate the process and formulate actions to address high risks. This process is facilitated by Internal Audit & Risk Management.

Year 2: Audit

Internal Audit conducts an independent audit, evaluating the management of the process. This leads to an improvement plan for dealing with the risks.

Year 3: Follow-up audit

Internal Audit conducts an independent follow-up audit, evaluating the improvements resulting from the earlier audit. If necessary, additional actions are defined.

From time to time during this cycle, the process owner reviews the most important process control measures and ensures that actions are followed up.

Supervision and monitoring

The management of risks is a continuous process and forms part of TMG’s Planning & Control cycle. The risk management and control system is supervised by the Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board. Periodically, the main risks and risk management measures taken are reported and discussed with the Executive Board and the Audit Committee.

Evaluation of and adjustments to the risk management and control system

TMG annually evaluates its internal risk management and control system and considers how the system can be improved.

In 2015, considerable attention was paid to the importance of internal controls and the control environment:

  • The culture and integrity programme initiated towards the end of 2014 was completed in 2015. This resulted in an amended Code of Conduct and stricter guidelines. TMG’s core values ​​(collaboration, innovation, customer centricity and integrity) were redefined. In addition, among other things, an adjusted reporting procedure and a whistle-blower policy were set up, and the regulations governing counsellors were improved.
  • In 2015, employees took part in an e-learning module on the Code of Conduct. The e-learning training is part of the induction program for new employees and will be drawn to employees’ attention annually.
  • Senior management also devoted specific attention to risk awareness. The Audit Committee, the Executive Board and the general managers of the business units again held a workshop on TMG’s ‘tone at the top’ and culture, with a focus on internal control. The subject of internal control is currently being communicated to all ranks within the organisation.
  • Once a quarter, the Executive Board reviews the progress of risk-related actions with general managers and controllers.

The internal management and control system was evaluated and a number of improvements implemented:

  • The risk assessments have been updated and are continuously monitored to be able to update the assessments in line with changing internal and external circumstances.
  • In 2015, the merger of Internal Audit and Risk Management was evaluated and it was decided to continue the merger in 2015/2016. Internal Audit and Risk Management have a facilitating role in the risk analyses. The independent role of Internal Audit is assured.
  • In 2015, a new governance risk capture tool was implemented. This provides better management information on the risk profile and risks within the organisation and processes.
  • In 2015, Keesing Media Group was added to the internal risk management and control system.
  • In 2015, agreement was again reached between TMG and the tax authorities on the evaluation, implementation and operation of internal control measures performed by TMG.


Strategic risks identified for 2015

Mitigating measures were identified for the most important risks for 2015. The risks are subdivided into strategic, operational, financial and compliance risks. Part of the planned measures have been implemented.

Strategic risks

Measures

Culture change

Insufficient ability to bring about the required innovative culture change, ethical standards and values, ​​and management quality.

In 2015, a change programme was implemented relating to culture and integrity, in which attention was paid to how we aim to treat each other and what values ​​TMG expects its employees to uphold in working together. Our Code of Conduct was updated in 2015 and disseminated throughout the organisation by means of an e-learning training programme, among other things. Besides drawing up a new Code of Conduct, we also set up a new help desk, where people can report integrity-related matters. In this context, TMG's core values (collaboration, innovation, customer centricity and integrity) were also emphasised again.

The M3 leadership and talent development programme became operational in 2015. Its aim is to retain good employees, to encourage the promotion of individuals with potential, and to secure key positions by ensuring that we have the right people in the right place. It thus aims to contribute to the creation of the desired TMG culture and the realisation of our objectives. TMG’s top 120 leaders underwent a development assessment with the aim of developing leadership in line with the business themes that are most relevant within TGM. At the end of 2015, an executive leadership programme was started for the top 50 leaders. In TMG’s change programmes, employees with potential are also involved, so that they too can apply and expand their knowledge and experience beyond their current area of work. In addition, Young TMG offers network meetings and inspirational sessions for young employees within TMG. 

Responsiveness to marktet trends

Insufficient ability to respond properly (timely and to a sufficient degree) to developments in the market.

In 2015, TMG modified its organisational structure and design to increase its focus on brands. Specifically, TMG Digital was set up. A single Customer Contact Centre was set up for TMG, and a number of back offices were integrated. New partnerships were set up to expand our content offer (e.g., video and OTT). Examples of such partnerships are Fashion Week and Ubideo, as well as the collaboration with Apple and IBM. Preparations were also started for the launch of 24/7 online TV for sports and news.

Capitalising on data

Insufficient ability to capitalise on consumer and customer data.

TMG has a large quantity of consumer and customer data at its disposal. In 2015, TMG started implementing one centralised CRM and subscription system to further enrich consumer data and to enable further analysis and classification of data by value. New business models are being considered, with consumers only paying for content they actually want, and enabling advertisers to make sure their ads directly match the experience of their target group.

Operational risks

Measures

Stable IT environment

Insufficient ability to assure an unambiguous and stable IT environment with regard to the continuity of business operations.

At the end of 2015, many of TMG’s workstations were migrated to an Apple platform. The remaining workstations will be added to the Apple platform in 2016.

IT increased security levels in 2015. For example, it formulated a new Information Security Policy, it started up an IT security dialogue, and the security risks posed for business operations by suppliers are now taken into account earlier in the process. A number of TMG’s core applications have been or will be renewed, including the editorial system and the  subscription system. The Risk Security Officer started an awareness and training programme among employees, focusing on information and data security among other things. Despite the measures taken, IT remains a critical process. Many internal control measures are still manual. When new systems are implemented, automated IT control measures are now always included.

In 2015, the centralisation of IT was initiated, with a focus on standardisation of IT processes and further rationalisation of applications. This will be continued in 2016.

IT renewal

Insufficient ability to implement new IT applications in the company's front office.

Today’s environment and technological developments offer opportunities for the digital publishing of content (OTT). The new website of VROUW.nl has gone live. The functionality of the Vrouw.nl website is now being reused for the other brands. To accelerate the further digitalisation of propositions towards TMG customers, separately operating IT units have been centralised in the IT Shared Services Centre.

Compliance risks

Measures

Data legislation

Insufficient ability to manage data quality within current legislation.

In 2015, the Code of Conduct for Personal Data was renewed. Employees are expected to deal with personal data securely, reliably and carefully. In 2015, knowledge sessions were organised to create more awareness with employees regarding the risks of data. The status of the IT environment also makes TMG vulnerable. In 2016, additional measures will be taken to manage the risks and requirements ensuing from data legislation.


Strategic risks identified for 2016

TMG has identified its key risks for 2016, taking into account the continuously changing media environment, economic trends and the changing job market. The risks are subdivided into strategic, operational, financial and compliance risks.

Strategic risks

Measures

Culture change

Innovative Culture: Insufficient ability to bring about the required innovative culture, values ​​and leadership.

In 2015, important steps were taken to clarify how we aim to treat each other and what values ​​TMG expects its employees to uphold. The activities pursued in 2015 will be continued in 2016. Within our M3 programme (Mensen Maken Media; 'People Make Media'), people management on the basis of behaviour and the further rollout of our core values (collaboration, innovation, customer centricity and integrity) will be assured. This is also reflected in TMG’s leadership profile. In addition, TMG will continue to organise knowledge sessions and e-learning activities on the Code of Conduct.

Responsiveness to market trends

Insufficient ability to speed up the development and implementation of new business models and so prevent a decline in traditional revenue.

TMG’s focus in 2016 will be on acceleration. This applies to both developing and implementing new business models.

ITMG Digital has been set up with the aim of further strengthening non-title-related online activities. Organising these activities separately will enable us to create new business models quickly.

Extra time and scope has been freed up to encourage employees to be more creative and innovative through, for example, the deployment of change agents in change programs, internships, and M3 and innovation sessions.

In addition, TMG is proactively examining potential partnerships for new digital distribution channels and new revenue models that we are unable (or unwilling) to develop independently.

Collaboration with external parties

Insufficient ability to work together with external parties, as a result of which strategic and other projects are not completed on time and results are inadequately secured.

By working together with complementary content creators and advertisers, we aim to further expand our offer so that we can deliver value for all links in the chain.

For example, TMG recently announced its intention to enter into a strategic partnership with Talpa, a move that will strengthen its position in the fields of radio, TV and OTT.

This requires a new way of management and collaboration. By making clear agreements regarding the governance between parties, TMG has assured the structure and management of the collaboration.

Operational risks

Measures

Stability of the IT environment

Insufficient ability to assure an unambiguous and stable IT environment with regard to continuity of business operations.

In 2016, most of the present TMG workstations will be replaced by new Apple workstations. The implementation of the CCI editorial system will be completed, and the CRM/subscription system will have been implemented by the end 2016. The application and infrastructure rationalisation will be continued in 2016. A number of legacy systems will be replaced, making the organisation less dependent on after-the-fact manual controls. The standardisation and optimisation of IT processes will be continued. The new data security policy will be implemented (e.g., through a training programme).

Because IT is an important element in TMG’s digital strategy, further attention will be given in 2016 to improving the quality and capacities of staff. This will be done, for example, by means of training courses and modified recruitment practices.

Cost control

Insufficient ability to make costs more flexible in those areas where competitors are able to do so.

Costs are given continuous attention. In 2016, the reorganisation of the printing plants will be implemented, and we shall begin to see the benefits of the new organisation with its more flexible cost structure. Furthermore, we will continue to build an ‘elastic’ capacity layer in the workforce and further professionalise procurement.

Cost flexibilisation also includes flexibilising personnel costs. In that context, we will continue to build on the good relationship it enjoys with the Works Council and the unions. They are kept informed about developments within TMG at an early stage, through both formal and informal channels.

Financial risks

Measures

Market, credit, liquidity, foreign exchange and interest rate risks

For a more detailed description and quantification of the above-mentioned financial risks and how they are managed and controlled, see note 31 to the consolidated financial statements.

Compliance risks

Measures

Data legislation

Insufficient ability to secure data and manage data quality within current legislation.

The plan drawn up in 2015 to further increase awareness of data security and data quality at all levels of the organisation will be completed in early 2016. The position of the Data Protection Officer will be further formalised. In 2016, the rationalisation of systems, applications, websites and IT tools will lead to a better structured IT landscape, which will subsequently improve the structure of the existing data.

The Executive Board is aware that no risk management and control system can provide an absolute guarantee that the company’s goals will be achieved; nor can it prevent system errors, fraud or violations of laws and regulations.

Management letter

Every year, the external auditor reports to TMG’s management and Audit Committee its findings regarding the administrative organisation and internal control measures. TMG has an internal control framework in which potential risks are identified, along with relevant and adequate internal control measures. Throughout the year, the main control measures are tested within the company by TMG employees. Within TMG, there are many manual detective control measures, rather than more preventive, automated ones. Improvements were made in this regard in 2015, but further attention will explicitly need to be given to this matter in 2016. The process and system projects mentioned above explicitly focus on this. Within TMG, a number of general IT controls are inadequate. Line checks are therefore performed to assure the accuracy of the internal control measures.


Statement of responsibility

TMG’s Executive Board is responsible for monitoring the internal risk management and internal control systems. In the chapter on Risk Management in this Annual Report, the Executive Board describes how it has structured the supervision and monitoring system, as well as which measures it has implemented pursuant to its annual evaluation. The evaluation of the Executive Board and the findings of Internal Audit and the external auditors are regularly discussed with the Audit Committee in the presence of Internal Audit and the external auditor. The Supervisory Board is kept informed of these discussions.

The findings of the Internal Audit and the external auditor during 2015 have resulted in the observation that the risk management and internal control system have not always performed as required. Shortcomings were observed in terms of the IT environment, with the further observation that automated controls are lacking for some parts. Part of this relates to the replacement of obsolete systems, which in a number of cases is taking longer than originally planned. The Company has implemented alternative – primarily manual – controls. Furthermore, additional data-oriented audits were performed internally. Particularly in the past few months, much attention has been given to risks and challenges in the area of security and information security, as well as increasing awareness of this theme at IT and TMG’s management. Following up on 2014, in 2015, specific attention was again devoted to risk awareness at the top of the organisation by means of a workshop attended by the full membership of the Supervisory Board.

The Executive Board is of the opinion that in accordance with Best Practice Provision II.1.5 of the Corporate Governance Code, the internal risk management and control systems, with due consideration to the aforementioned observations (alternative, primarily manual, controls with additional data-oriented audits), provide a reasonable degree of assurance that the financial reporting does not contain any material misstatements and that the risk management and control systems – with due consideration to the aforementioned observations – functioned as expected in the year under review.

In compliance with Section 5:25c subsection 2c of the Dutch Financial Supervision Act (Wft), the Executive Board declares that:

  1. The financial statements provide a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and the profit or loss of the publishing institution and the companies jointly included in the consolidation; and
  2. The Annual Report presents a true and fair view of the position on the balance sheet date, the performance during the financial year of the publishing institution and that of its affiliated companies whose accounts have been included in its financial statements, and that the Annual Report describes the material risks facing the publishing institution.

Amsterdam, 8 March 2016

Executive Board , Telegraaf Media Groep N.V.

Geert-Jan van der Snoek - CEO

Leo Epskamp - CFO


Corporate Governance

Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG) has what is known as a two-tier Board, which comprises the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board. The Executive Board and the Supervisory Board are responsible for the Company's corporate governance structure. This section provides an overview of the corporate governance structure. The Executive Board and the Supervisory Board endorse the principles of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code (the Code).

Corporate Governance Code

The 'Corporate Governance statement', which includes TMG's comprehensive 'comply or explain' summary with regard to the Code, is available at www.tmg.nl. Explanation of deviations from the Corporate Governance Code:

Principle IV.1

TMG does not allow shareholders to vote remotely in the General Meeting of Shareholders. In principle, shareholders should attend the meeting in order to be able to discuss matters with other shareholders present and thus form an opinion.

Best-practice provision IV.2.8

Even during times of war, the management of the Trust Office is able to issue voting proxies to depositary receipt holders. The practice of binding voting instructions from a depositary receipt holder to the management is not supported, as the Board is of the opinion that those wishing to vote ought to be present at the General Meeting of Shareholders.

Best-practice provision IV.3.1

This provision is not adhered to in the case of presentations to individual investors (e.g., institutional investors). These cannot be viewed via webcasts. However, group presentations will be able to be viewed via webcasts (www.tmg.nl). After they have been given, group presentations will be posted on the Group's website.

Best-practice provision IV.3.9

TMG is a statutory two-tier entity. The Executive Board is appointed by the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board notifies the shareholders of a proposed appointment.

Article 10 of the Takeover Directive/Decision on Article 10 of the Takeover Directive

For more information about this topic, see www.tmg.nl, under the Corporate Governance section.

Defensive measures

For a summary of the defensive measures, see Other information, TMG Preference Shares Trust and TMG Priority Share Management Trust.

Executive Board

The Executive Board is appointed by the Supervisory Board. The General Meeting of Shareholders is informed of any planned appointments. The Supervisory Board generally cannot dismiss a member of the Executive Board before the General Meeting of Shareholders has been consulted about the planned dismissal and the member of the Executive Board has been given the opportunity to answer to the General Meeting of Shareholders.

Subject to the provisions of the Articles of Association, the Executive Board is responsible for the management of the Company, which includes responsibility for the realisation of the Company’s objectives, strategy and policy, and the developments of the result arising from this. The Executive Board may comprise one or more members. The number of members is determined by the holders of priority shares. The current Executive Board comprises Geert-Jan van der Snoek, Chairman (CEO), and Leo Epskamp, Financial Director (CFO).

The members of the Executive Board of Telegraaf Media Groep N.V. are employed on the basis of a four-year contract for the provision of services (in accordance with the Code’s provisions), which may be terminated prematurely by either party with a three-month period of notice. They are appointed as statutory directors of Telegraaf Media Groep for coinciding four-year periods.

The contract each time terminates by operation of law upon the expiry of the four-year period. At least six months prior to the expiry of the aforementioned four-year term, Telegraaf Media Groep N.V. shall inform the Executive Board member by email or in some other written form as to whether or not the contract will be continued after the expiry of the four-year period. In the event that such notice is not provided, the contract will not be continued after the expiry of the four-year period.

Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board supervises the Executive Board’s policies and the general course of affairs of the Company. Furthermore, the Supervisory Board assists the Executive Board with advice, both at the request of the Executive Board, and on its own initiative.

Members of the Supervisory Board are appointed by the General Meeting of Shareholders on the recommendation of the Supervisory Board. The General Meeting of Shareholders and the Works Council may recommend individuals for nomination to the Supervisory Board. The Central Works Council has what is known as a 'strengthened right of recommendation' for one third of the Supervisory Board members.

The Supervisory Board comprises at least three natural persons, who are appointed by the General Meeting of Shareholders on the recommendation of the Supervisory Board. The recommendations are based on a publicly available profile prepared by the Supervisory Board concerning its size and composition. The nature of the company, its activities and the desired expertise and background of the supervisory directors are taken into account in this respect. For one third of the number of supervisory directors, the Supervisory Board shall place a person recommended by the Central Works Council on the list of nominations, unless the Supervisory Board objects to such nomination pursuant to law.

The number of supervisory board memberships of each Supervisory Board member is legally limited and cannot be more than five, whereby the chairmanship of a supervisory board counts double. This number of five pertains to 'large' companies domiciled in the Netherlands. Memberships on the Supervisory Board or Executive Board of a foreign company do not count in this number.

In its current composition, the Supervisory Board comprises five individuals, consisting of Mr Michiel A.M. Boersma, Ms Annelies G. van den Belt, Ms Simone G. Brummelhuis, Mr Jan J. Nooitgedagt and Mr Guus A.R. van Puijenbroek.

Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM)

The AGM is held at least once a year. The AGM’s agenda shall at least include the Annual Report, the adoption of the Financial Statements, the dividend policy and the policy on reserves, and a proposal concerning the appropriation of profit. In addition, the AGM will vote on granting discharge to the members of the Executive Board and to the members of the Supervisory Board. Shareholders and holders of depositary receipts that represent at least one percent (1%) or a value of at least € 50 million or more may request in writing that an item be added to the agenda.

Articles of Association

The AGM may decide to amend the Articles of Association with a simple majority based on a proposal submitted by the holders of priority shares.

Issue of shares

The AGM can appoint the holders of priority shares as the competent body authorised to issue shares. In the AGM of 23 April 2015, the holders of priority shares were appointed as the competent body authorised, with the exception of pre-emptive rights, to issue shares, including the granting of rights to acquire ordinary shares. This authority has been granted until 23 October 2016 and covers all unissued ordinary shares up to a maximum of half of the authorised capital, now or at some time in the future.

Purchase of own shares

Own shares can only be purchased if the AGM has authorised the Executive Board accordingly with due consideration to the provisions contained in the Articles of Association. The AGM of 23 April 2015 authorised the Executive Board to purchase its own shares or depositary receipts thereof listed on the stock exchange or otherwise for a period of eighteen months. The authorisation is limited to at most one tenth of the issued share capital on the date of the AGM in 2015 (23 April), at a price not lower than the nominal value and not higher than 10% above the average closing prices of the depositary receipts for ordinary shares published in the NYSE Euronext’s Daily Official List during the five consecutive days prior to the date of purchase.