Thursday, January 18, 2007

Never a dull moment at PCM (1)

Next week on January 23rd, 2007, a new Dutch free broadsheet will be launched. It will be a remarkable launch for more than one reason. The name is as general and indistinguishable as you can get: De Pers (The Press). There is no relationship to a national or international publishing company; the publication will be financed by private people. The publisher aims at the better educated part of the market and believes that there is a market for this newspaper. De Pers will be the third free broadsheet in The Netherlands.

While the circulation figures of the paid newspaper subscriptions go down every year, free broadsheets are introduced as well as target group papers. In the Netherlands the international franchise chain Metro started a free newspaper, followed by Sp!ts, a free broadsheet of the newspaper company De Telegraaf. A year ago a paid newspaper for young people (19-40 years) NRC-Next was launched; it presently reaches up to 65.000 copies, but the question is whether it will still grow.

Then Mr Boekhoorn stepped in with the plan for a new free broadsheet. Mr Boekhoorn is a private investor, who earned money by buying and selling companies; his last real big project was the sale of the telecom company Telfort, led by CEO Ton aan de Stegge, to KPN for more than 1 billion euro. So Mr Boekhoorn surrounded himself with people coming from the trade (Metro, Wegener); the team started to gear up for the launch and is almost there.

During the training period Mr Boekhoorn was invited by Mr Aan de Stegge, who had become CEO of the newspaper and book publishing company PCM, to discuss co-operation between PCM and De Pers. They agreed about the shares division: PCM 49 percent and Boekhoorn 51 percent. But the Board of Directors did not agree. This morning the lawyers met and started a potential case Boekhoorn vs Aan de Stegge.

The affair even got stranger as the news was leaked that PCM still intends to start a free daily, but this time in combination with other multimedia applications. Planet Internet, a subsidiary of the telco KPN (which bought Telfort) is rumoured to be the business and editorial partner. Planet Internet is the third most visited site and way ahead of the PCM sites such as, and

Blog Posting Number 637


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