MediaNation is experiencing financial problems, VRT reported. MediaNation's owners are Paul Ghessens, CEO of Ghelamco and president of Antwerp Football Club, and Wetstraat journalist Wouter Verschelden. The company's radio station, Business AM Radio, will close its books this week and many of its employees have not been paid for months.
Some employees have already gone to court. Others have officially declared negligence against directors Paul Giessens and Wouter Verschelden and are also considering further legal action. The media company has been incurring losses for years.
Ten years ago, Wouter Verschelden founded MediaNation with the aim of addressing young people through a digital medium, because it was still difficult to reach them through traditional channels. The company's first initiative came in 2014 with Newsmonkey, a news website with a special blend of information and humour.
In 2019, Paul Gheysens joined and new platforms were created. For example, Ghessens and Verschelden founded the Belgian edition of the American magazine Newsweek, and also organized lectures and events. Soon after, another news website was added, Business AM, which aims to prepare financial and economic reports. In 2022, Business AM Radio was also created. In addition, a number of lifestyle, travel and health publications have been created under the names Gezond.be and Goodbye.be.
It quickly became apparent that all these investments were a bit arrogant. The company has reportedly only made a loss since its founding in 2013. As a low point, a loss of five million euros was recorded last year. The total debt turns out to be around 20 million euros in 2022.
VRT spoke with several MediaNation employees. One has outstanding bills amounting to €40,000, and the other knows that back wages amount to €900,000. Staff also speak of “mismanagement” and “amateurism” and say they will take further legal action.
MediaNation said in its response that activities had already been “scaled down” and that payments would be made “depending on available cash flow.”
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