Saturday, April 14, 2007

Never a dull moment at PCM

It took a while, but now PCM knows the height of the claim by Mr Marcel Boekhoorn, the proprietor of free daily De Pers. Instead of 96 million euro, the claim has been lowered to 10 million euro. PCM disputes the claim and refuses to pay.

The claim is part of talks to collaborate in the free daily project. PCM’s CEO Ton aan de Stegge together with an Apex partner started these talks with Mr Boekhoorn. PCM would provide the printing and the distribution; Boekhoorn would provide the editorial staff. The PCM national newspapers were against the plan as they wanted to have their own free daily or protect their own baby like The Board of Directors/Shareholders stepped in and called off the talks.

Boekhoorn immediately let the company know that he was going to put down a claim and estimated the disaster on 96 million euro. In the meantime Apex and the Board of Directors/Shareholders were in talks for Apax stepping out. Besides the height of the transfer sum, the claim was hanging above the talks. Despite the fact that the Apax representative is said to have made promises to Boekhoorn, the Board of Directors/Shareholders took the claim, if it would come to a court case or a settlement. As the claim has been lowered from 96 million to 10 million, a settlement around 5 million euro will be most likely (and PCM has already 1 million for this claim as the CFO return his bonus of 1 million euro).

In the meantime the PCM project of a free daily DAG has started up. And the former CEO Ton aan de Stegge has been named a commissioner of the PCM love baby. No date for publication has been set yet.

De Pers has not failed one day of publication so far. As with every new paper advertisers still are hesitant. Distribution of De Pers is done at the railway stations. But now the management has also plans to have the free daily be delivered from door-to-door and eventually to convert to paid subscriptions. Eventually the distribution will consist of 30 percent through stations and buses, 30 percent in office blocks and through bookshops and 30 percent from door-to-door; the rest will handed out at gas stations. In the coming weeks De Pers will be distributed from door-to-door. The publisher Cornelius Van den Berg has 50 areas selected where De Pers will be delivered daily. The areas are mainly new developments and new towns. That is where the young families are; they are interesting for advertisers.

The publisher is very optimistic. Besides the mix of distribution channels, he wants to convert from a free daily to a paid subscription in a mid-term view. Having established one arm of the publishing empire, the publisher also announced that the company will be publishing books. Next month the first book will appear. You would think that a publisher would be able to tell the title, but he has not decided which book it will be.

By not getting involved in De Pers, PCM allows a competitor, not hindered by money, to grow.

Blog Posting Number: 723


No comments: