The broadcaster’s country divisions outperformed their markets — the French TV ad market dipped 6 per cent in the first half and the Dutch market was down 5.6 per cent but operating profits at both Groupe M6 and RTL Nederland were stable.
The ever robust German TV market along with earnings at RTL’s production subsidiary FremantleMedia – producers of X Factor and American Idol – drove first half results. Operating profits at German division RTL Deutschland were up 9.3 per cent to $410 million while FremantleMedia delivered operating profits of $63 million for the first half, up from around $50 million a year earlier, with stronger earnings from North America and Asia boosting the bottom line.
Those results helped lift net profits. Operating profits jumped 9.1 percent to $678 million (€552 million), the second-highest first half result in the company’s history. Profits attributable to RTL Group shareholders were up 52.6 per cent to $560 million (€418 million), an increase also due to a one-of reversal of a 2012 impairment, totaling some $90 million, on RTL Group’s shareholding in the Spanish broadcasting company Atresmedia (formerly Grupo Antena 3).
RTL is also growing its digital presence, recently taking a 51 per cent stake in YouTube online network Broadband TV, which manages some 8,500 YouTube channels generating around 800 million video views per month. RTL Nederland also recently took majority control of The Entertainment Group, the largest Dutch subscription V0D service.