Music, Digital Growth Boost First-Half Revenue at Germany's Bertelsmann

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Avril Lavigne

Music arm BMG's financials rose on releases by the likes of Keith Richards, Kylie Minogue, Avril Lavigne and Dido as the media giant posted its highest half-year revenue in 12 years.

German media giant Bertelsmann on Thursday reported its highest first-half revenue in 12 years, driven by its digital operations and what the company has designated as growth businesses, including music arm BMG.

Bertelsmann posted first-half revenue of €8.6 billion ($9.5 billion), up 5 percent. The company's profit for the six months edged up slightly to €502 million ($556 million). 

The company's European TV arm RTL Group had on Wednesday reported record first-half revenue. Bertelsmann on Thursday highlighted that RTL's production unit Fremantle "continued its positive business performance in Germany with the second season of the drama series American Gods, the talent show America’s Got Talent: The Champions and several UFA productions, including the new season of Charité." 

BMG’s first-half revenue rose 11.4 percent to €269 million ($305 million), “driven primarily by organic growth." Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the six months increased 16.7 percent to €49 million ($56 million). 

"Fast-growing recordings business benefits from releases by Keith Richards, Kylie Minogue, Jack Savoretti, Kontra K, Lil Dicky, Avril Lavigne and Dido," the company said about the results. "Music publishing highlights include Lewis Capaldi and Juice WRLD." The company also highlighted: "The share of total revenues attributable to digital formats increased to 56 percent (first half of 2018: 54 percent), reflecting continuing growth in the digital streaming market."

Said Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe: "In addition to our strategic progress, we set important parameters in the first half of the year that will shape our company long-term. ... We want to become the technologically leading media, services and education company."

Added CFO Bernd Hirsch: "Our continued good business performance and the systematic implementation of our strategy also strengthen our solid financial position. Accordingly, we are optimistic for the full year. Bertelsmann anticipates higher revenues and continued high operating profitability for 2019 as a whole. Our group profit will exceed the billion euro mark for the fifth consecutive year.”