The RTL Group has said its revenue in 2009 was down 6.3% to €5,410 million as most TV advertising markets across Europe declined by double-digit rates. However, RTL Group’s investments in content production and diversification businesses helped to better balance its financial position.
With a record second half-year EBITA of €437 million (up 5.6% year-on- year), full-year EBITA reached €755 million (down 17.6%) despite higher start-up losses (€46 million) which mainly resulted from the first-time full-year consolidation of Alpha Media Group in Greece, and significant one-time charges, including restructuring costs in the UK, Germany and Greece totaling €34 million, and a significant programme write-down at Five amounting to €22 million.
“In 2009, RTL Group had to operate in a tough economic environment, in particular during the first half of the year when the TV advertising markets declined at double-digit rates. ” said Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of RTL Group, in a statement. “With a strong year-end finish, RTL Group again achieved good full-year results and continued to operate at high levels of profitability. At the beginning of 2009, in the midst of the economic uncertainty, we made it our top priority to significantly reduce the cost base in our core business of TV broadcasting, without losing audience shares.”
The Group is continuing investments in digital activities, content and diversification. In total, RTL Group’s online platforms across Europe registered more than 1 billion video streams, an increase of 49% compared to 2008.
On-going improvement and extensions of RTL Group’s popular catch-up TV services. There was the launch of Vox Now in Germany, W9 Replay in France, and RTL Most in Hungary.
In France, Groupe M6 complemented its market-leading offer with a new paid service, M6 VOD, which features premium content such as movies and season passes for popular TV series, and M6 Bonus, a free service offering highlights of M6’s signature programmes, as well as interviews, making-ofs and outtakes
The French M6 Replay and Dutch RTL Gemist also became available on TV screens rather than just as an online video portal. Selected programmes from M6 Replay and RTL Now are also available on mobile phones.