RTL sees streaming growth accelerate

Paying subscribers for RTL Group’s streaming services in Germany and the Netherlands was up 48% to more than 4.5 million for the first half of the year. Streaming revenue was up 21.5% to €130 million.

Paying subscribers for Germany’s RTL+ increased 68.9% year on year to 3.427 million. RTL said that its strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle RTL+ Premium within the latter’s Magenta TV contributed significantly to the growth.

Paying subscribers for Dutch streamer Videoland grew 6.2% year on year to 1.079 million.

The broadcaster has targeted 10 million paying subs and revenue of €1 billion by 2026.

RTL’s overall revenues were up 8.7% to €3.3 billion, but organic growth was negative, down 4.1% due to slowing ad markets, particularly in Germany, according to RTL.

The company manged to turn in increased adjusted EBITA, which was up 8.7%.

Production arm Fremantle also saw growth of 8.1% to €983 million after a series of acquisitions.

One potential fly in the ointment is the awaited regulatory decision by France’s Autorité de la Concurrence on the planned merger of RTL-owned French broadcaster M6 with larger Bouygues-owned rival TF1.

The competition watchdog has significant concerns about the deal, prompting the merging parties to reflect that implementation of suggested remedies would render the combination unworkable financially. A final decision is expected in October.

RTL is also awaiting a decision by the Dutch regulator on RTL’s proposed merger between RTL Nederland and Talpa Network.

Despite the solid first half results, RTL management has downgraded. Its guidance for the full year in the expectation of tougher economic times ahead.

It now expects adjusted EBITA of between €1.05 billion and €1.15 billion and streaming startup losses of €250 million.

“RTL Group had a solid first half of the year 2022, despite the growing economic uncertainties resulting from the war in Ukraine, increasing inflation and supply chain issues. Thanks to our investments into streaming and content and the strong performance of RTL Nederland, our first-half revenue reached a new record level of €3.3 billion. Despite significantly higher streaming start-up losses and a slowdown of the TV advertising markets since March, RTL Group generated a higher Adjusted EBITA – once again demonstrating our ability to generate strong financial results even in challenging conditions,” said CEO Thomas Rabe.

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