General ad uplift offsets problems in France for RTL

Advertising growth in some markets helped RTL Group to offset a flat market in Germany and continued difficulties with M6 in France and maintain stable revenues and EBITA for the first quarter.

RTL said that all European TV advertising markets except Germany and France showed signs of improvement.

Group revenues remained broadly stable at €1.313 billion, compared with €1.317 billion for the same period last year. EBITA was €194 million, down from €207 million, pushed down by M6 and RTL Radio in France. M6 saw its EBITA fall from €60 million for Q1 2013 to €43 million for the three months to March 2014.

RTL in Germany has this week launched Geo Television, the group’s fourth digital pay TV channel in the country.

The launch of the channel follows a partnership deal with publishing group Grüner + Jahr, which published the magazine of the same name on which the channel is based.

Geo will offer documentaries on nature, technology, exploration, adventure and world events.

The channel joins RTL’s existing digital pay TV services RTL Crime, RTL Living and Passion.

The new channel is available on Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain platform.

The latest digital launch follows the launch in January of RTL Kockika, a new kids channel for Croatia. The channel is the first free-to-air kids offering in the country.

RTL said its digital business had continued to grow strongly, with online video views for catch-up TV as well as BroadbandTV on Youtube growing by 228% year-on-year to 7.2 billion. This figure included 30% growth for views to its YouTube channels, reaching 1.62 billion.

Production arm FremantleMedia turned in EBITA of €9 million for the quarter, down from €10 million last year. RTL highlighted FremantleMedia’s acquisition of a 75% stake in US-based 495 Productions in March, which it said would enable the unit to expand its share of the US cable networks market.