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RTL posts strong results as ad markets rebound

Pan-European broadcast group RTL has posted a sharp spike in interim profits as TV advertising markets in western Europe bounced back from last year’s downturn.

Company CEO Gerhard Zeiler said: “The stronger than expected rebound seen in the western European TV advertising markets is the result of the overall economic recovery, but it also demonstrates the strength of television, as many advertisers have rediscovered its unique value for building brands and reaching mass audiences.”

Zeiler added that full-year results will be better than previously expected although visibility for the all-important fourth quarter remains limited.

RTL reported a 46.3% year-on-year increase in EBITA profit of €537m for the six months to end-June. Revenue increased 7.5%, taking the total to €2.7bn. The company said that the performance of its free-to-air broadcasters RTL in Germany, M6 in France and RTL Nederland in the Netherlands drove the growth. The broadcasters reported half-year profits of €257m, €134m and €32m respectively.

RTL also offloaded struggling UK free-to-air broadcaster Five in the period. Five CEO Dawn Airey was released by new owner Richard Desmond and is tipped to take a role within RTL.

RTL’s production and distribution division FremantleMedia recorded a 4.6% increase in revenue of €596m and a 3.4% increase in EBITA profit of €90m.