Total revenues at RTL Group were up 7.2 percent in the first quarter to 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), lifted by gains at Fremantle and in its digital activities.
Broadcast revenues at the media group slipped by 2 percent to 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) as a result of softer ad markets in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Fremantle—the group’s content arm—posted revenues of 383 million euros ($428 million), a 41.3-percent gain. This was mainly due to the deliveries of American Gods and America’s Got Talent: The Champions. For 2019, Fremantle’s revenues are expected to rise between 4 percent and 7 percent.
Digital revenues from RTL Group’s MPN activities and SpotX rose by 25 percent to 105 million euros ($117 million). VOD revenues were up almost 11 percent to 51 million euros ($57 million). RTL Group’s total digital revenue was up 15.8 percent to 220 million euros ($246 million).
Announcing the results, CEO Thomas Rabe noted, “To further improve our growth profile, our Total Video 2.0 strategy focuses on two priorities: building local streaming champions in the European countries where we have strong families of channels, and strengthening our global content arm Fremantle. We continue to make good progress on both priorities: at the end of March 2019, RTL Group registered 1.15 million paying subscribers for its video-on-demand platforms in Germany and the Netherlands—up 59 percent year on year. Fremantle continues to fuel its pipeline for drama productions with the upcoming launches of Beecham House, Baghdad Central and La Jauría.
“In the first three months of 2019, RTL Group has continued to actively manage its portfolio with the acquisition of the U.K.-based video technology company, Yospace, and the sale of Universum Film in Germany, which was completed in April 2019. Also during this period, Groupe M6 announced its plans to acquire TV businesses from Lagardère Group, including the famous children’s channel Gulli. This will be a major step towards strengthening our position in France, RTL Group’s second-largest market. At the same time, we have decided not to acquire the remaining shares of BroadbandTV.”