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RTL Group, the European television giant and parent company of production powerhouse Fremantle, reported a 9 percent drop in revenue for the first quarter of 2023 to €1.4 billion ($1.56 billion), largely due to a slump in its core free-TV business in Germany and France.
RTL Group, reporting its latest figures on Thursday, said TV ad markets were down significantly in Germany and France and slightly down in the Netherlands year-over-year and that the company does not expect to see a recovery this quarter. RTL Group’s quarterly advertising revenue fell to €700 million, down 16 percent from €829 million in the year-ago period, including TV ad revenue of €545 million, down 17 percent from €653 million and €76 million in digital advertising, down 8 percent from €83 million.
Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group parent company Bertelsmann, said an ad rebound in the second half of the year would be needed if RTL was to meet its full-year targets of €7.4 billion ($8.23 billion) in group revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) of €1.0 billion ($1.11 billion)-€1.05 billion ($1.17 billion). But Rabe was upbeat, pointing to a growth in audience share in France and Germany and to the successful extension of broadcasting and streaming rights for the top sports rights, the Uefa Europa and Conference League, in Germany.
Fremantle also saw a drop in year-over-year revenue, which was off 5.6 percent to €435 million ($484.4 million), mainly, the company said, due to timing effects of production deliveries.
One bright spot was RTL’s nascent streaming services, RTL+ and Videoland, which continue to expand, posting a 37.1 percent jump to 5.9 million paying subscribers. Streaming revenues at the group were up 15.6 percent, RTL reported.
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