Television Advertising, Hit Formats Boosts Numbers at RTL Parent Bertelsmann

12:15 AM PST 11/10/2011 by Scott Roxborough
Dan Gorder/Getty Images

Profits for the first nine months of 2011 were up $27 million to $517 million as revenue topped $14.7 billion.

COLOGNE, Germany – Solid advertising growth, particularly in its core television division, helped boost quarterly figures at German media giant Bertelsmann. Revenue for the first nine months of 2011 inched up 2.3 percent to $14.7 billion (€10.7 billion) while group profit jumped some $27 million to $517 million.

Bertelsmann said there was growth across all corporate divisions but, as always, the company’s motor was its television operations RTL Group. RTL, which owns 41 TV channels in 10 countries as well as production group FremantleMedia, makers of American Idol, X Factor and The Farmer Wants a Wife, outperformed Bertelsmann as a whole. RTL’s revenues increased 4.4 percent in the first nine months of this year and operating profits were up 4.6 percent. The reason is the continued robust nature of traditional television advertising in RTL’s core markets: Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Bertelsmann, which also owns Random House publishers, music rights group BMG and magazine publishing group Gruner + Jahr, took on more debt in 2011, taking its net financial burden to $3 billion from $2.6 billion this time last year.  Economic debt, which also takes costs for employee pensions and profit participation into account, was up some $412 million to $7.2 billion.

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