Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and FremantleMedia were strong contributors to the growth in RTL Group’s profit in 2017.
Full-year revenue at RTL Group was up 2.2 percent to €6.37 billion ($7.9 billion), while EBITDA was up 3.8 percent to €1.46 billion ($1.8 billion).
For the sixth consecutive year, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland generated record earnings. EBITDA was up by 3.5 percent to €743 million ($922 million), led by higher TV and digital advertising as well as platform revenue. Groupe M6’s EBITDA was down to €389 million ($482 million), facing a tough comparison against the positive one-off effect from the gradual phase-out of the M6 Mobile contract in 2016. EBITDA at FremantleMedia grew 9.5 percent to €140 million ($173 million), seeing higher profit contributions from the businesses in North America and Europe. RTL Nederland’s EBITDA was down to €87 million ($107 million), due to lower advertising revenue and higher investment in the SVOD platform Videoland.
Bert Habets, CEO of RTL Group, commented: “This set of strong results shows that we are in an excellent position to write the next chapter in RTL Group’s success story. To succeed in this mission, we have to go back to our roots, to reinvigorate RTL’s pioneering spirit—one of taking calculated risks, putting consumers first to maximize the time they spend with our content and sharing best practices and business opportunities across our group.
“While we have a highly profitable, cash-generating core business in TV broadcasting, growth in our ‘Total Video’ industry mainly comes from non-linear or streaming services. To tap into this significant growth potential, we will increase investment in our on-demand services in the countries where we have strong families of channels. The launch of new services in Belgium, Hungary and Croatia over the next few months—all based on the French 6play platform—is the first example. We will also continue to build and develop our multiplatform networks and our investments in ad-tech.
“FremantleMedia will continue its successful push into high-end drama production, in all key countries. And with this push, also the streaming platforms become meaningful clients for FremantleMedia as recently demonstrated with American Gods and Deutschland 86.”
Elmar Heggen, the chief financial officer of RTL Group, said: “2017 was another successful financial year—and this despite challenging TV advertising markets across our footprint. In addition, unfavorable exchange rate effects, in particular in the fourth quarter, impacted our revenue growth. However, we once again report record results in terms of revenue and EBITDA and a very strong profit margin. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland generated a record profit for the sixth consecutive year, while FremantleMedia significantly improved its profitability.
“RTL Group’s business model stands for resilient top-line growth, a well-diversified revenue mix and an excellent earnings profile. With our high levels of cash generation, we have the financial means for both major investments and attractive dividend payments to our shareholders. That’s why the board of directors has decided to propose to the AGM a final dividend of €3.00 per share.”