RTL takes advertising hit but streaming growth continues

RTL took the hit of a 9% drop in revenue in the first quarter as a sharp decline in the ad market made itself felt. However, the group saw streaming subscribers and revenue continue to rise strongly, with paying subs up 37.1% to 5.9 million.

RTL revenues were down by 9%, of 7.7% organically, to €1.4 billion, despite the group claiming a rise in audience share both in Germany and France.

RTL Group’s total advertising revenue was €700 million, down from €829 million, of which €545 million represented TV advertising revenue, down from €653 million. Digital ad revenue was also down, albeit from a much smaller base.

In addition to the fall in ad sales, RTL’s top line was impacted by the sale of RTL Belgium and RTL Croatia last year.

Revenue from production outfit Fremantle also fell significantly, down 5.6% to €435 million, largely due to the timing of programme deliveries.

On the positive side, RTL’s streaming activities continue to go from strength to strength.

The group saw streaming revenues from RTL+ and Videoland go up 15.6% to €74 million thanks to the growing number of RTL+ subscribers in Germany.

Paying subscribers for RTL+ in Germany increased by 38.4% year on year to 4.389 million. A strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle RTL+ Premium in Magenta TV contributed significantly to the growth.

Videoland paying subs in the Netherlands grew 9.45 year on year to 1.243 million, while he number of paying subscribers for RTL+ in Hungary, including RTL+ Active, was 0.277 million at the end of March, following the service’s launch in November 2022.

Despite the drop in revenue, the group is sticking with its expectation of revenues of €7.3-€7.4 billion for the full year, with adjusted EB(ITA expected to come in between €1 billion and €1.05 billion, including an expected €200 million in start-up losses for the streaming units.

”RTL Group made good progress on its strategic and operational agenda in the first quarter of 2023. We strengthened our core business with audience share gains in our largest markets, Germany and France, and renewed the exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights for the UEFA Europa and Conference League in Germany. We are pleased with the strong growth of our streaming businesses, adding more than 400,000 paying subscribers in the first quarter alone. Our global content business Fremantle has continued its creative success story across drama and film, entertainment and documentaries, with numerous awards and new partnerships with high-profile creatives such as Amy Berg and Edward Berger,” said CEO Thomas Rabe

“In line with our expectations, TV advertising markets were very challenging in the first quarter. As noted in March, our outlook is based on a rebound of the TV advertising markets in the second half of the year, in particular in Germany. On this basis, we confirm our outlook for the full year 2023.”

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