Media in Belgium - statistics & facts

Belgium's media landscape is defined by the country's complicated political structure. There is Flanders in the north, the Dutch-speaking region with a population of approximately 6.9 million residents in 2019. Then there are roughly 4.8 million French-speaking Belgians living in the south, most of which live in Wallonia in the south and some in the Brussels-Capital Region (the city of Brussels and its surrounding municipalities). And, finally, there is a small German-speaking community of about 75,000 to 80,000 people in the very east. Belgium's differences in language, politics and culture resulted in a landscape that follows the same lines of the country's federal state structure as well as its language communities. Because of this, one could say there is no single "Belgium" media market. Instead, there are multiple, each with their own brands and characteristics.

Television: public differences

Belgium's largest media outlet is arguably the VRT or Flanders' national public-service broadcaster. In Dutch-speaking Belgium alone, the VRT held an audience market share in Flanders of nearly 40 percent in 2018 as the owner of public channels Een, Canvas and most popular television shows in Flanders in 2019. In the south, on the other hand, the Walloon audience market share is more split across different broadcasters. Here, RTBF shares the market leader position with the Luxembourgish RTL Group, with both broadcasters having a market share of around 25 percent. The most popular TV programs in French-speaking Belgium in 2019 were also significantly different, with the qualifiers for EURO 2020 playing a more significant role than in Flanders.

Radio: domestic versus abroad

Much like for television, VRT is a big name in Flanders' radio market. In 2019, VRTs public radio station Radio 2 was undoubtedly the most popular of the more than 20 Dutch-language radio stations in the country, reaching a market share of 30 percent. Studio Brussel or StuBru (alternative, rock) and MNM (pop music) are other popular VRT brands, with market shares of 10.5 percent and 9 percent in the same year. Wallonia's most popular radio station came from France, however. In 2019, Radio Nostalgie made up over 15 percent of total listening time, a figure only slightly higher than RTBF's radio station Vivacité (public radio, often described as the French equivalent of VRTs Radio 2).


Print: a familiar pattern When it comes to news and print, Mediahuis and DPG Media (since 2019 the new name of De Persgroep) are the dominant players on the newspapers market in Flanders. Mediahuis is the publisher of popular newspapers Het Nieuwsblad (1.13 million readers per daily issue in 2019), investigative newspaper De Standaard (490,000 readers in the same year), and several local newspapers. DPG Media, on the other hand, is the publisher behind Flemish newspaper market leader Het Laatste Nieuws, along with the qualitiy newspaper De Morgen. In Wallonia, Groupe Rossel controls the majority of the print market as the owner of business newspaper Le Soir and the popular Sudpresse. When it comes to online consumption, almost all popular online news brands in Flanders in 2019 were of domestic origins. This was slightly different for Wallonia, as the French-speaking region's most used online news brands included several foreign brands.

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Media in Belgium

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