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RTL adds half a million streaming subs in Q1

Media giant RTL Group added over half a million new paying streaming subscribers in the first quarter of the year, taking its total to 2.72 million, up 71% year-on-year.

Paying subscribers for TV Now in Germany doubled year on year to 1.718 million, up from 857,000 at the end of March 2020 RTL said that its strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle TV Now Premium in Magenta TV contributed significantly to the growth

Paying subscribers for Dutch service Videoland grew 38 per cent year on year to 1.006 million

In March, RTL Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom agreed the sub-licensing of exclusive rights to 17 UEFA Euro 2024 matches, as part of the partnership announced in November. The agreement covers the broadcast of 14 group phase matches, two rounds of 16 finals and one quarter-final exclusively on free-to-air TV on RTL Television and live streaming on TV Now.

Streaming revenue from TV Now and Videoland was up 40.5% to €52 million.

Overall, RTL saw revenue drop 4.2% to 21.404 billion due to negative exchange rate impacts and effects from the sale of BroadbandTV and French broadcaster M6’s home shopping business.

The company said that lower TV advertising revenue in Germany and the Netherlands was compensated by increasing content, streaming and ad-tech revenue. Group revenue was up 3.9 per cent organically.

“Our streaming services TV Now and Videoland accelerated their growth, adding more than half a million new paying subscribers in the first three months of the year. This demonstrates how our streaming investments in content, marketing and technology – and our strategic partnerships – boost our progress towards creating national streaming champions. With new high-end drama series and a broad portfolio of entertainment shows, our global content business, Fremantle, had a strong start to the year,” said CEO Thomas Rabe.
Rabe said that “lockdown measures led to lower TV advertising revenue” in Q1 but that “we see strong growth of our TV advertising revenue across our footprint for the second quarter of the year and confirm our outlook for the full year 2021”.

RTL is continuing to explore the sale of M6 Group in France, RTL Belgium and RTL Netherlands.
“As stated before, there is a strong case for consolidation in the European broadcasting industry. We are currently reviewing such options for our broadcasting businesses in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, with a view to creating value for our shareholders. There can be no certainty that this may lead to any type of agreement or transaction,” said Rabe in the earnings statement.