RTL plans to increase investments in its video-on-demand services after launching three new VOD platforms in the first quarter of the year.
Announcing the company’s Q1 earnings, RTL Group CEO Bert Habets said that the company’s VOD investment will have a “clear focus on local, exclusive content.”
He also said RTL will gradually move to a hybrid model – “combining a free, advertising-financed service with a premium pay product.”
The comments come after RTL launched three new VOD platforms in Hungary, Croatia and Belgium – all based on the 6play platform of Groupe M6.
RTL Play launched in Croatia in January and in Belgium in March, while RTL Most! went live in Hungary in February.
“This is a textbook example of how closer collaboration across our Group can be key to scaling up digital businesses,” said Habets.
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland also launched a new free-to-air channel in March focused on US fiction, called Now US.
This is available exclusively via the VOD platform TV Now between the hours of 20.15 and 6.00, with all programmes available for 30 days on the service after they broadcast.
RTL said that TV Now Plus, the premium subscription version of the service that includes access to a greater range of content, experienced paid subscriber growth of 61% year-on-year in Q1 2018.
RTL Nederland’s VOD service, Videoland, recorded paid subscriber growth of 82% over the same period. In April RTL Nederland announced plans to merge its Videoland and RTL XL on-demand services into a single platform.
Overall RTL reported stable Q1 group revenue of €1.416 billion with underlying revenue up 2.6%. Group digital revenue was up 6.7% to €190 million. EBITDA was down slightly at €259 million while net profit was €111 million, compared to €137 million a year earlier.
“During the first quarter of 2018, we generated higher TV advertising revenue in our key markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands. However, this good revenue growth was offset by negative exchange rate effects,” said Habets.
“Our profitability remains at a high level, and with the strong operating performance of our major business units, we are in a very good position to write the next chapter in RTL Group’s success story.”