Broadcasters hit hard by cancelled ad campaigns, including Albert Heijn Hamsteren

Broadcasters in the Netherlands are suddenly struggling under a hoard of canceled advertising campaigns. Many sectors have stopped advertising due to the coronavirus, resulting in TV channels losing out on millions of euros. The virus is also affecting the recording of new programs, NOS reports.

Albert Heijn is one of the companies that is advertising less. The supermarket chain decided to cut its annual Hamsterweken campaign, focused on bulk buying. "We don't think it is appropriate at the moment," a spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "Especially since we now tell customers that it is not necessary to stock up. We do have offers, but we communicate them less on radio and television."

Screenforce, the organization that keeps an eye on the market for TV advertisements, is noticing companies withdrawing their campaigns. "For this and next month, many TV and radio campaigns have been canceled, resulting in less advertising," Michiel van der Voort of Screenforce said to the broadcaster. "In addition, all kinds of events are no longer happening that hired many advertisers in the past, like the Eurovision Song Contest, Formula 1 and the European Football Championship."

The sudden cessation of advertising money is not immediately a problem for public broadcasters, but commercial broadcasters are in trouble. Talpa, owner of TV channel SBS6 among others, is about to start layoffs. According to owner John de Mol, "Draconian measures" are needed and this will certainly have consequences for the 1,600 people who work at the company. Talpa postponed new episodes of Miljoenenjacht and Split Screen. A new talk show by Patty Brard and Gordon has also been shelved.

RTL told NOS that it is also noticing an impact, but the broadcaster is not yet at the point of layoffs. RTL points out that the first shock is over and that there are also companies that advertise more now, like online hops. The company is also benefiting from more subscribers to streaming service Videoland, a subsidiary of RTL. Recordings of the RTL soap opera Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden can't happen at the moment. The channel still has episodes on the shelf, but is running out. The broadcaster therefore reduced the number of weekly episodes from five to four.