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RTL steps up international exclusive content drive with new formats unit

RTL Group is stepping up its efforts to build exclusive content with the launch of Format Creation Group (FC Group), a new creative unit that will develop non-scripted formats exclusively for RTL broadcasters and streaming services.

The new unit will be based in Hilversum and led by managing director Matthias Scholten (pictured), a long-time TV executive and creative from RTL Nederland. Scholten last year set up and managed a new creative unit within RTL Nederland with the goal to develop innovative content for the Dutch viewers and advertising market. In his new function, he will report to Andreas Fischer, RTL Group’s head of business development.

Scholten will be tasked with building a diverse and international team of creatives for the unit over the next few months. FC Group will be jointly financed by RTL Group’s major broadcasters Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Groupe M6 and RTL Nederland.

RTL said that FC Group has been created to fulfil a growing demand for exclusive content by developing format ideas and intellectual property fully owned and controlled by the group. The unit will focus on the development of factual entertainment formats and reality shows, working closely with RTL broadcasters to reflect their needs in the local markets they are active in.

Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, said: “Every year, RTL Group invests €3.5 billion in content. Strengthening our core business by further increasing our programme investments and by exploring all possible ways to develop and own new hit formats is one of our strategic priorities. This is what FC Group is all about: a place of autonomy where creativity and bold ideas can thrive. With his remarkable track record, Matthias Scholten is the perfect fit for this exciting mission. The unit’s spirit of strong cooperation across our footprint perfectly complements successful initiatives such as the Bertelsmann Content Alliance and Ad Alliance in Germany.”

The move is the latest effort by RTL to realise the benefits of its international scale – in this case by developing formats for its subsidiaries in multiple language markets – belying widespread scepticism about the synergies in content production that can be realised by broadcasters operating across multiple territories.

The group recently said it was combining its digital video business in the Nordics, United Screens, with Divimove, its Berlin-based digital video company. RTL also plans to integrate the Dutch RTL MCN into the combined entity.