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Traditional TV advertising revenue rebounded and streaming growth took off in the first quarter for European TV and production giant RTL Group, which reported its latest results Friday.
Group revenue for the quarter was up 11.3 percent to $1.64 billion (1.56 billion euro), with TV advertising climbing 11.2 percent over the year-ago period and streaming revenue jumping 23.1 percent. RTL Group said its SVOD platforms RTL+ (German-speaking) and Videoland (Dutch) added 1.6 million additional subscribers, taking their joint total to 4.3 million, a 58.2 percent increase over this time last year.
RTL’s bottom line was helped by the sale of regional operations RTL Belgium, which closed March 31. The group has also signed an agreement to sell off its television operations in Croatia, with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year. In its core western European markets, which include Germany, France and the Netherlands, RTL is looking to consolidate to create what it terms “national media champions.”
In Germany, RTL Deutschland, a commercial television group, has already merged operations with publishing giant Gruner + Jahr, which, like RTL, is a subsidiary of media giant Bertelsmann. RTL and G+J have also combined their digital advertising operations to offer international advertisers a one-stop shop for booking ads across the group’s portfolio of TV, radio, online, mobile and print offerings.
On the content side, RTL has been looking to gain scale, with production arm Fremantle recently buying majority stakes in Italian production company Lux Vide (Medici, Devils) and British group Dancing Ledge Productions (The Responder, The Salisbury Poisonings). Its first-quarter revenue grew 6.5 percent to $484 million (461 million euro).
“These moves will create significant value for RTL Group’s shareholders and put us in a strong position to compete with the global tech and streaming platforms,” RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement.
For the full year, RTL Group expects to book revenue of around $7.8 billion (7.4 billion euro), with adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of approximately $1.21 billion (1.15 billion euro).
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