Novamedia, the media company

Annual Report 2016

Click here for our Annual Report 2016.

For a complete overview of our Good Operations activities see our dedicated GO Report 2016 (GO, our name for everything we do to further the aims of sustainability and CSR)

It’s all in the name: Novamedia is essentially a media company. From the very start, various forms of media were a specific vehicle to our organisation and we have proved that this particular field of expertise has no secrets for us.

In 1989, we launched a new format which helped our accumulated knowledge reach its full potential. This was the year de Postcode Loterij saw the light of day. Since then, Charity Lotteries in several countries work with our formats and they have given us the opportunity to use our knowledge of the media landscape for the benefit of society. In the past 28 years, we have collected a dazzling sum of 7.9 billion euros for charity. Our main mission is to use our ambition and knowledge to stimulate and improve society.

We are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Wherever we believe our experience and expertise in the field of media may make a difference, we hope to contribute proactively. Good examples of this are our activities in the fields of literature and publishing.

We are confident that people still want to read, learn and discover, albeit perhaps in new ways. Through our knowledge of and experience with (new) media, we aim to find different ways for people to learn and to grow. Our society and its needs are evolving, but we have found that old media are often slow to adapt to changes. We want to bring back the entrepreneurial spirit to that collective cultural experience of reading and thus revive literature and reading. We do this with the passion and persistence that have become our trademarks over the years.

Read more about Novamedia's charity lotteries

Our motto is: Making good citizenship fun!

Together, this motto and our form of ‘social enterprise’ lead to the core values of the organisation: Sustainable, Courageous, Sharing and Fun.

Before Novamedia devised the lottery formats, it already worked for various social organisations, mostly in the fields of fundraising, publicity and member recruitment.

These activities and the desire to make the world a better place led to the invention of a form of lottery that not only focused on sharing the revenue but also on winning together: the Postcode Lotteries.
This aspect of winning together has made the Postcode Lotteries the first invention in lotteries in 400 years. The last invention dated from around 1600 and came from Genoa in Italy. It was called Lotto (correctly guessing 6 numbers out of 49).
At the end of the nineteen-eighties, the founders of the Dutch Postcode Lottery – the former shareholders in Novamedia – had such faith in this new lottery format that they got themselves deeply into debt and bore all of the risks personally. Because what seems obvious now was far from so at the time. When the Dutch Postcode Lottery was set up, there was a great deal of scepticism and nobody, including the charities, dared to co-finance the initiative. There were also charities that certainly did not want to receive contributions from this new initiative. It’s thanks to the perseverance of the founders and former shareholders of Novamedia and to their belief in their mission that there is now an organisation that is the third biggest private donor in the world.


How does Novamedia work?

Here follows a more detailed explanation of Novamedia’s approach to turning its lottery format into a charity lottery. Please contact Novamedia if you want further information. You can send an e-mail to the information department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Novamedia devises, develops and maintains the formats. Novamedia employs people to do this and also funds the investments needed for these developments. Novamedia also protects the formats it develops so that these can only be used for the lotteries that have the same ideas and mission as Novamedia.

Novamedia also tries to establish its formats / lotteries in other countries, where it hopes that by supporting charities in those countries their social midfields will be strengthened. But this isn’t easy: countries protect their National Lottery because of the high earnings they generate for the public treasury. In all countries of the European Union, policy is restrictive in relation to lotteries, i.e. the respective countries only issue a limited number of permits, and stringent and restrictive requirements are set for organisations wanting to be eligible for a permit.
In twenty EU countries, there is only a single national lottery; only in the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Spain do other charity lotteries exist aside from the National lottery, where the permit has been issued to non-profit organisations or charitable organisations. In all cases, the charity lotteries in question are confronted with many restrictions in legislation and regulations directed at preventing competition with the local National Lottery. From 2017, there will no longer be restrictions in the Netherlands on the number of charity lottery providers.

Additionally, Novamedia finances the (high) investments needed to market the lotteries in those countries where a permit has been obtained. In the Netherlands as well as in Sweden and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), Novamedia carried the investments at its own expense, and successful Postcode Lotteries have since been established. In October 2016, the Postcode Lottery was launched in Germany.

Once they are in a position to do so, the lotteries pay Novamedia for a licence to use the lottery formats. Novamedia can use this income to possibly recoup its investment and to make further investments in order to set up charity lotteries elsewhere: to enable and support charitable and social initiatives in other countries.

Up to 2016, Novamedia’s formats and investments have resulted in a total contribution of €7.9 Billion (!!) to thousands of charities and social initiatives worldwide.
This has made Novamedia and the charity lotteries working with its formats the fifth biggest private donor of all time after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Rockefeller Foundation and Open Society Foundations.

Since December 2014, Novamedia/Postcode Lotteries has been the third biggest private donor in the world after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

These world indices are produced annually on the basis of research conducted by the Free University of Amsterdam and the British business newspaper City AM (source: City AM, Dec. 2016).

This places Novamedia in a select group with other Dutch inventions and formats that have also been internationally successful.

JV NPL Boeren

Novamedia is constantly in dialogue with local charities, authorities and other interested parties in various countries with a view to setting up a postcode lottery to raise funds for charities. Experiences with Sweden and Great Britain have shown that investments of tens of millions of euros are needed to set up a successful charity lottery (the total investments were €28 Million in Sweden and €61 Million in Great Britain).

For example, Novamedia is looking into opportunities for a Postcode Lottery in Norway, where several charities wanting to work with the format of the Postcode Lottery have applied for a permit. In Germany at the end of 2015, permit was granted to the non-profit organisation Postcode Lotterie DT gGmbH, which was established by Novamedia. The German Postcode Lottery can only raise funds in accordance with strict conditions. A minimum of 30% of the funds raised are earmarked for local German charities, and there is a high lottery tax level.

In Germany, Novamedia had already secured a permit in a number of federal states in 2000 together with German charities. At the time the Postcode Lottery was launched, a new law came into force making it impossible to actually get off the ground. The entire investment of 5 Million guilders was lost then.

Novamedia was also active for a number of years in Uzbekistan, with the Ecolot brand. However, at the time, Uzbekistan had no postcode system with which our lottery model could work. After some years, tension developed between Ecolot and the government that mainly resulted from the lack of freedom (of opinion). For that reason, Novamedia decided to temporarily suspend Ecolot until circumstances would allow a good charity lottery to be implemented well. Again the investment was largely lost owing to this.

Novamedia is also active in media and publishing – our second big love. In order to continually acquire knowledge in the media sector, Novamedia’s interests include its co-ownership of an online social gaming platform; since 2012, Novamedia has owned an interest in the online social gaming company Gramble. In 2014, publishing house Nieuw Amsterdam/Wereldbibliotheek/Bas Lubberhuizen, the online bookstore ECI and the bookshop Scheltema in Amsterdam were added to this division. Publishing house Fontaine Uitgevers was added in 2015.

Furthermore, in 1990 (the year in which it started) Novamedia was one of the co-founders and owners of Independent Media, the successful Russian publisher of newspapers and magazines, which, with Derk Sauer at the helm, developed into the second biggest publishing company in Russia.
In 2005, Independent Media was sold to the Sanoma publishing company.

Novamedia is the creator and owner of the Postcode Lottery format. The Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij) was launched in 1989 to raise money for charity organisations that work to create a fairer, greener world.

In 2005, the success of the Postcode Lottery in the Netherlands prompted Novamedia to launch two more lotteries abroad – the Svenska PostkodLotteriet in Sweden and the People’s Postcode Lottery in Great Britain. In 2016, the Deutsche Postcode Lotterie launched throughout Germany.

In the Netherlands Novamedia operates two other lotteries besides the Postcode Lottery: The FriendsLottery and the BankGiro Lottery, launched in 1998 and 2002 respectively. The three lotteries share the same parent company (Holding Nationale Goede Doelen Loterijen NV)

Since the beginning, Novamedia’s charity lotteries have donated over €7.9 billion to thousands of charities and projects all over the world. This ranks Novamedia/Postcode Lotteries as the third largest private donor in the world, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA) and the Wellcome Trust (UK).

Novamedia is also active in media – our second big love. In order to continually acquire knowledge in the media sector, Novamedia’s interests include its co-ownership of an online social gaming platform; since 2012, Novamedia has owned an interest in the online social gaming company Gramble. The knowledge and experience in this up-and-coming sector is indispensable with regard to all Novamedia’s activities for contributing to a better world and investing in a strong civil society.

In 2014, publishing house Nieuw Amsterdam/Wereldbibliotheek/Bas Lubberhuizen, the online bookstore ECI and the bookshop Scheltema in Amsterdam were added to this division. Publishing house Fontaine Uitgevers was added in 2015.

Furthermore, in 1990 (the year in which it started) Novamedia was one of the co-founders and owners of Independent Media, the successful Russian publisher of newspapers and magazines, which, with Derk Sauer at the helm, developed into the second biggest publishing company in Russia. In 2005, Independent Media was sold to the Sanoma publishing company.

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