History of Sega in the Netherlands

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Netherlands 
History of Sega in the Netherlands
Official Sega distributor(s): Homesoft (1986-1989), RCA/Columbia Pictures Video (1989-1993), Sega Netherlands (1993-1996), Atoll Soft (1996-2003), Atari Benelux (2004-2006), Sega Benelux (2006-2012), Level03 Distribution (2012-2015), Koch Media (2015-present)

In the 70s Netherlands was one of the countries where Sega imported its game machines.[1]

From the end of 1986 until 1989, Homesoft distributed the Sega Master System. The company created SegaClub.[2]

In 1989, RCA/Columbia Pictures Video began distributing Sega consoles purchased from Atoll. During this time, they created membership club called Sega Masters Club with special magazine for members called Sega Masters Club News, available in both French and Dutch. They also started marketing campaign called Doe me een plezier... Sluit me aan op een Sega. Early on, the Sega Master System games had instructions in French but not Dutch. Atoll has added separate inserts with Dutch instructions to many games. Later European versions will contain Dutch as standard. There was also a bilingual Sega Hotline available. In 1991 Mega Drive, Game Gear and Master System II were released.

Sega had 25% of market in Netherland until April 1992.[3]In this year, Master System had 200,000 active users in the country.[4]Awareness of Sega consoles was growing month by month thanks to new marketing campaigns like te SEGA voor woorden and others. By the end of 1992 Sega's market share was 35%.[5]The Mega CD was announced for February-March 1993 with asking price of 800 NGL.[6]The Amstrad Mega PC was released in the Netherlands in March 1993 by Amstrad Benelux for NLG 2499.

In August 1993, Sega Europe took over product distribution and founded Sega Netherlands based in Hilversum.[7][8]The Mega CD II was released on September 15, 1993. [9] In October 1993, in Amsterdam, advertisements appeared in which a group of English investors presented a proposal to organize a Formula 1 street race in the capital. The route was to be announced by Damon Hill. This sparked a general outrage among the press and the community. Many people have suggested that Sega is behind it because Damon Hill appeared in the ad, but Sega Netherlands representative denied it. Soon all the confusion vanished.[10][11]

In 1994, Sega continued the attack with new marketing campaign called Beat us if you can and Radio 538 created Sega Pirate Radio 538. Sega Multi Mega was released in this year and in December 1994, Mega Drive 32X. Sega Pico was knonw to be released here as well.

Until end of 1994, Sega had 13,000 active Mega CD users and 3,000 active 32X users.[12] In March 1995, Sega Netherlands announced that there are 200,000 Mega Drive consoles in the country. The Sega Channel was also announced to start in June for NLG 35 a month. [13] Sega Saturn released on July 12, 1995. [14] but on March 1, 1996, Sega Europe closed its branch in the Netherlands. The reason was the decrease in turnover in the Benelux countries by 50%. Atoll Soft took over distribution for the Benelux markets. In 1996, TCI's technology group got the rights to distribute Sega Channel in the Benelux Union. In the Netherlands, the service was provided by Eneco from October 1996 but results were poor.

As it comes to Sega Saturn, it sold only 2000 units in 1997, ending with 7000 units sold on its lifespan.[15]After Saturn, Sega negotiation with R&P, Contact Data, Audax and Atoll Soft about selling the Dreamcast. Audax, which started talks in September 1998 planned to sell 100 000 units of Dreamcast in Netherlands by 2001.[15] Atoll Soft on the other hand also planned to sell 100 000 units but in whole Benelux region.[15]According to Audux, Sega agreed in December 1998 to give them rights to Netherlands and Atoll Soft was supposed to be distributor in Belgium and Luxembourg.[15] At the beginning of 1999, Sega was supposed to sign the agreement but it didn't happen, mainly due to lack of communication, time, plans and finances for marketing because Sega wanted to focus on key regions (United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain).[15] Six weeks before Dreamcast release, Sega signed contract with Atoll Soft which was now owned by Big Ben Interactive.[15]

Dreamcast was released at the same time as in other countries of Europe, with 10 games available in first day.[15] Atoll Soft delivered only 2,500 units of Dreamcast to shops and it is very likely that unitl end of the year, Dreamcast availability was quite low.[15] Dreamcast Internet was available by Telfort[16] from December 2000.[17] By January 2001, more than 20,000 consoles had been sold in the Benelux countries.[18]

In early 2004, Sega announced that Atari Benelux would be distributing the games.[19] In 2006 Sega returned to the Benelux region, with Sega Benelux opening up an office in Amsterdam.[20]

Following restructuring in 2012 Sega Europe once again closed down it's Benelux operations, handing over distribution to Level03 Distribution until 2015, when Koch Media took over.[21]

References

  1. File:Sega_Company_Profile_1970.pdf
  2. https://www.gamegeschiedenis.nl/2018/10/sega-masters-club/
  3. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=7&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ddd:010646740:mpeg21:a1520&resultsidentifier=ddd:010646740:mpeg21:a1520
  4. Screen Digest March 1995 page 60
  5. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=10&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ddd:010637573:mpeg21:a0129&resultsidentifier=ddd:010637573:mpeg21:a012
  6. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=12&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ddd:010691539:mpeg21:a1332&resultsidentifier=ddd:010691539:mpeg21:a1332
  7. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&coll=ddd&identifier=ddd:010691590:mpeg21:a0921&resultsidentifier=ddd:010691590:mpeg21:a0921
  8. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=22&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ABCDDD:010842423:mpeg21:a0141&resultsidentifier=ABCDDD:010842423:mpeg21:a0141
  9. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=22&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ABCDDD:010842423:mpeg21:a0141&resultsidentifier=ABCDDD:010842423:mpeg21:a0141
  10. https://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/het-jaap-van-der-scheur-circuit~b53b0a40/
  11. https://www.trouw.nl/nieuws/een-formule-1-race-in-amsterdam-bleek-in-1993-geen-geslaagd-idee~b8b19364/
  12. Screen Digest March 1995 page 60
  13. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=47&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=KBPERS01:003252008:mpeg21:a00015&resultsidentifier=KBPERS01:003252008:mpeg21:a00015&rowid=9
  14. https://www.delpher.nl/nl/kranten/view?query=sega&facets%5Bperiode%5D%5B%5D=1%7C20e_eeuw%7C1990-1999%7C&page=50&maxperpage=50&sortfield=date&coll=ddd&identifier=ABCDDD:010870883:mpeg21:a0103&resultsidentifier=ABCDDD:010870883:mpeg21:a0103&rowid=41
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 https://www.gamingalexandria.com/wp/2023/01/how-the-sega-dreamcast-almost-went-unreleased-in-the-netherlands/
  16. https://techmonitor.ai/technology/sega_to_build_internet_access_into_dreamcast
  17. https://www.pressetext.com/news/20001205075
  18. https://www.lalibre.be/economie/entreprises-startup/sega-sur-le-point-de-jeter-l-eponge-face-a-plus-fort-que-soi-51b87097e4b0de6db9a56693
  19. https://www.entertainmentbusiness.nl/muziek/nieuwe-licenties-atari-en-electronic-arts/
  20. https://www.entertainmentbusiness.nl/muziek/sega-opent-benelux-kantoor-jurgen-post-aangesteld-als-md/
  21. https://www.entertainmentbusiness.nl/games/koch-media-en-sega-europe-sluiten-distributieovereenkomst-benelux-af/
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