RTL record H1; new leadership structure

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RTL has reported H1 group revenue up 4.2 per cent to a record level of €3.1 billion, driven by Fremantle and the digital businesses. On a like-for-like basis, revenue rose 4.6 per cent to €3.1 billion– the highest growth rate since 2010.

RTL Group’s digital revenue grew 21 per cent to €513 million, driven by Fremantle, BroadbandTV, SpotX and the Group’s streaming services TV Now and Videoland.

Profit for the period was significantly up, to €443 million (H1/2018: €366 million), benefitting from gains from the disposal of assets.

Thomas Rabe, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group, commented: “RTL Group had a successful first half of the year 2019 as the content and digital businesses further accelerated our growth. Operating profitability remained at high levels – and this despite substantially higher programming and VOD investments and restructuring charges.  We will further increase our investments in content and technology. RTL Group is well positioned for the current investment cycle in the European TV industry: we have leading market positions, our streaming services are growing fast and our financial position is strong. With new alliances and partnerships, we are actively shaping the future of the European Total Video industry – from content creation to ad sales and technology.”

Rabe emphasised that RTL Group had made significant progress on the two priorities of its Total Video strategy in the first half of 2019: building national streaming champions in the European countries where RTL Group has leading families of channels and strengthening the Fremantle content business.

Meanwhile, RTL Group has also announced a new leadership structure. Its Board of Directors has appointed Elmar Heggen as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Björn Bauer as the Group’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective immediately. Both Heggen and Bauer will report to Rabe.

In his new position as COO, Heggen – who had been RTL Group’s CFO since 2006 – will be responsible for coordinating and further optimising the operations across the Group’s international footprint. As Executive Director, he will continue to serve on RTL Group’s Board of Directors.

Bauer joins RTL Group from Bertelsmann where he has served in several senior executive positions since 2007, most recently as CFO of Bertelsmann’s US-based online learning provider Relias (2015 to 2018) and, since January 2019, as Bertelsmann’s Executive Vice President Corporate Controlling and Strategy. He will also be a member of RTL Group’s Executive Committee, alongside CEO Thomas Rabe and COO Elmar Heggen.

Martin Taylor, Chairman of RTL Group’s Board of Directors, said: “I am delighted that we have found such a dynamic and experienced leadership team for RTL Group. Elmar Heggen knows our Group inside out and will be an active sparring partner for the chief executives of our business units. Björn Bauer has extensive financial expertise and media experience. With our CEO Thomas Rabe, I wish both of them lots of success in their new positions.”

To drive the strategic agenda of RTL Group and to foster cooperation, the Group is also establishing a Group Management Committee (GMC), which will be composed of the members of the Executive Committee (Thomas Rabe, Elmar Heggen, Björn Bauer) and the CEOs of the Group’s three largest business units – Bernd Reichart (CEO of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland), Nicolas de Tavernost (CEO of Groupe M6) and Jennifer Mullin (CEO of Fremantle).

Rabe commented: “The GMC will shape the future of our company, bringing together massive experience and different perspectives. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland will lead our newly created European advertising technology development unit, while Groupe M6 will build the technology backbone of RTL’s streaming services. And our global content business Fremantle is at the very heart of what drives our businesses – creativity and content.”


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