RTL Group with stable net profit - Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

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News | RTLGroup | Luxembourg, 05/11/2017

RTL Group with stable net profit

RTL Group announces its quarterly results for the period ended 31 March 2017. Group revenue was down 1.9 per cent to €1,405 million (Q1/2016: €1,432 million), solely due to the absence of American Idol on the US network Fox in 2017 which more than compensated higher revenue from Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Groupe M6 and the dynamically growing digital business. Adjusted for the American Idol effect, RTL Group continued to grow by around 4 per cent, in line with the full-year guidance.

EBITDA was down by 8.3 per cent to €264 million (Q1/2016: €288 million), mainly based on lower profit contributions from the football club Girondins de Bordeaux and FremantleMedia. Despite the decrease, this was the second-highest Q1 EBITDA in RTL Group’s history. The EBITDA margin stood at 18.8 per cent (Q1/2016: 20.1 per cent).

Net profit attributable to RTL Group shareholders was stable at €137 million (Q1/2016: €138 million), thanks to a gain of €14 million resulting from a re-measurement of the fair value of RTL Group’s 75.5 per cent interest in multi-platform network Divimove.

Net cash from operating activities was €220 million (Q1/2016: €319 million), resulting in an operating cash conversion of 116 per cent (Q1/2016: 150 per cent).

As of 31 March 2017, RTL Group had a net debt position of €390 million (31 December 2016: net debt of €576 million).Segments: Solid performance in key markets Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s EBITDA was stable at €168 million (Q1/2016: €169 million). At Groupe M6, EBITDA decreased to €76 million (Q1/2016: €90 million), reflecting lower EBITDA contributions from SND and the football club Girondins de Bordeaux, partly compensated by higher TV advertising. 

FremantleMedia’s EBITDA decreased to €13 million (Q1/2016: €19 million), mainly due to phasing effects and the absence of American Idol (the show’s final season on US network Fox was mainly aired in Q1/2016). 

RTL Nederland’s EBITDA was down to €1 million (Q1/2016: €3 million), mainly due to lower TV advertising sales. 

“Profitability remains high with continued investments in digital and content” 

Joint statement from Bert Habets and Guillaume de Posch, Co-Chief Executive Officers of RTL Group: 

“Following the exceptionally strong first quarter 2016 with an early Easter, we have returned to regular business in the first quarter of 2017. Nonetheless, our profitability remains on a high level and we will continue to significantly invest in digital and content. 

As stated in prior years, the first quarter is not necessarily an indicator for the full year. This is especially true for FremantleMedia. We can only emphasise once more that the content business cannot be managed on a quarterly basis. The launch of American Gods on the US pay-TV channel Starz and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 territories will have a positive impact on FremantleMedia’s revenue in Q2. RTL Group maintains its outlook for the full year 2017 and expects total Group revenue to increase moderately and EBITDA to be broadly stable. 

We are excited about the launch of American Gods, which is one of FremantleMedia’s signature productions in 2017 and the second major project coming out of the company’s push into drama, following The Young Pope in 2016. Looking at the show’s exceptional audience shares on Starz and great praise from fans and critics alike, FremantleMedia once more created must-see television. Just a few days ago, they announced that American Idol, one of the most iconic shows in TV history, will come back on the US network ABC. Both are proof of what we have said before: exclusive content is the power engine for everything we do in the total video universe.” 


RTL Group confirms its outlook given at the full-year results 2016 presentation on 9 March 2017: RTL Group expects its total revenue for the fiscal year 2017 to continue to grow moderately (+2.5 per cent to +5.0 per cent), driven by the Group’s digital businesses and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. At the same time, RTL Group’s EBITDA for the full year 2017 is expected to be broadly stable (-1.0 per cent to +1.0 per cent). 

RTL Group further strengthens creative pipeline and digital expertise 


The channels of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland significantly increased their lead over the ProSiebenSat1 channels to 5.5 percentage points in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 (Q1/2016: 4.0 percentage points). With a total audience share of 5.2 per cent, the German TV channel Vox surpassed competitor ProSieben (4.6 per cent), underlining its position among the top TV channels in Germany. Both can be largely attributed to the strong, local and exclusive programming. 

In France, Groupe M6 increased its combined audience share to 23.6 per cent among women under 50 responsible for purchases. The main channel M6 stepped up its game in French fiction with the new series Glacé which scored a strong average audience of 3.9 million viewers. 


In March 2017, FremantleMedia International (FMI) and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland struck a deal, giving FMI exclusive international distribution rights to Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s extensive library of programming dating back to 2000, as well as rights for future commissions and show formats. 

Also in March, FremantleMedia announced the production of My Brilliant Friend starting in summer 2017, an eight-episode drama series from director Saverio Costanzo (The Solitude Of Prime Numbers, Hungry Hearts). The story will be based on the first of the four-book series by Elena Ferrante. 

In Germany, UFA Fiction’s 6-part historical drama Charité launched with 8.4 million viewers and a total audience share of 25.9 per cent, public broadcaster ARD’s highest new series launch in 13 years. The broadcaster has already commissioned a second season. 

On 30 April 2017, the highly anticipated American Gods premiered on the US pay-TV channel Starz, attracting a cumulative audience of 1.4 million on its premiere night and exceeding the broadcaster’s prime-time average share across all demographics including Men 18 to 49 (+595 per cent), Adults 18 to 49 (+540 per cent) and Adults 25 to 54 (+540 per cent). On Amazon Prime Video, the series has been available internationally since 1 May 2017. 

On 9 May 2017, US network ABC announced an agreement with FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment to revive television’s most successful and recognised music competition series, American Idol, for the 2017/18 season. A host and judges will be announced at a later time. 


RTL Group’s digital revenue continued to show very dynamic growth, up 48.3 per cent to €178 million (Q1/2016: €120 million). 

The digital businesses that make up the RTL Digital Hub – BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and SpotX – continued to show strong revenue growth. Comparing Q1/2017 with Q1/2016: BroadbandTV revenue was up 118 per cent, StyleHaul was up 100 per cent and SpotX was up 17 per cent. 

In February 2017, FremantleMedia entered into an agreement with the controlling shareholders of Europe’s leading multi-platform network (MPN), Divimove, to modify the corporate governance of the company. According to the agreement, the company’s founders shall remain at the helm for at least two more years to continue the company’s exponential growth. Divimove is now fully consolidated in RTL Group’s accounts. 

In April 2017, RTL Group participated in a Series B funding round for VideoAmp, increasing its share in the US-based advertising technology company to approximately 24 per cent on a fully-diluted basis. VideoAmp operates a platform for cross-screen data optimisation.