RTL Group strong despite ad slump

RTL Group reported strong first half results, despite ad market decreases in all of its core markets except Germany, which remained stable year-on-year. 

The firm attributed these ad conditions for a slight decrease in revenue, which was down 1.3% year-on-year to €2.78 billion. However, profit was up 52.6% to €418 million, while reported EBITDA was up 9.1% to €552 million.

Listed among RTL Group’s “major profit centres” was Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland which recorded a combined audience share of 31.2% among viewers aged 14 to 59 for its portfolio of channels. RTL Group said that EBITDA for this division climbed 9.3% to €306 million – “the best ever first-half operating profit for RTL Group’s largest profit centre.”

Other highlights were Groupe M6 in France gaining ad market share and reporting a slight increase in EBITDA at €127 million, despite an estimated 6% drop in the French TV ad market in the first half of the year.

FremantleMedia, the content division responsible for shows like The X Factor also reported a higher EBITA of €47 million, which RTL Group said were “mainly driven by increased contributions from FremantleMedia North America and FremantleMedia Asia Pacific.”

RTL Nederlands meanwhile reported a stable combined prime time audience share of 32.4% in the commercial target group, maintaining a lead of 12.1 percentage points over its main commercial competitor.

“Our strong interim results again demonstrate the resilience of our diversified portfolio and business model. Despite a tough economic environment, all profit indicators – EBITA, profit margin and net result – were significantly up and we generated the second best first-half EBITA in the company’s history,” said Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, co-chief executive officers of RTL Group.

“Our broadcast and content brands remain strong. With our recent transactions – the strategic partnership with Broadband TV and the acquisition of the leading pay video-on-demand operator in the Netherlands – we have given a particular boost to our presence and expertise in the digital distribution space. After these investments, RTL Group will attract more than 15 billion online video views for the year 2013. We are clearly on track to reach our goal of being a leading player in online video and online video advertising,” they added.

RTL Group’s video services and websites attracted a total 4.8 billion online video views in the first half of the year, up 35% per cent year-on-year. Included in this, FremantleMedia’s more than 100 YouTube channels attracted 2.9 billion online video views, up 86% year-on-year.

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