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RTL H1 soars

RTL regained market share in its core German TV business in the first half of the year and rasied its full-year sales forecast on strong growth in online businesses, which the European broadcaster said it would expand with further acquisitions.

RTL, controlled by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, has TV and radio channels in eight European countries and southeast Asia, with shows including The X Factor and Idols.

As advertising spending continues to migrate online from television, RTL has begun to buy digital properties including an online video advertising platform and a host of YouTube channels.

RTL’s digital sales almost doubled to 219 million euros in the first half. That represented 8 per cent of RTL’s total sales of 2.79 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Elmar Heggen, speaking to Reuters, said the digital businesses were profitable as a whole although the so-called multi-channel networks such as HooplaKidz and StyleHaul on YouTube would take time to make money.

“It’s still a situation where all the participants are trying to grab market share and reach. It’s still the time of the gold rush,” he said. “It will take a couple of years until the businesses break even.”

Heggen said RTL’s annual acquisition budget was 150 to 250 million on average and would focus on digital and content, such as the 62 per cent stake it announced its FremantleMedia unit had bought in Italian drama producer Wildside this week.

RTL also reported forecast-beating core profit that rose 3 per cent in the first half and said it would pay a special interim dividend of 1 per share in September.

Heggen said RTL had won back some of the market share it had lost a year ago, with an increase of 7 per cent in revenues at its core German business in Q2, outperforming a 5 per cent rise at rival broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1.

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