The digital businesses that make up the RTL Digital Hub consisting of BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and SpotX) continued to show strong revenue growth. Comparing Q1/2017 with Q1/2016: BroadbandTV revenue was up 118%, StyleHaul was up 100% and SpotX was up 17%.
In February 2017, FremantleMedia entered into an agreement with the controlling shareholders of Europe’s leading multi-platform network (MPN), Divimove, to modify the corporate governance of the company. According to the agreement, the company’s founders shall remain at the helm for at least two more years to continue the company’s exponential growth. Divimove is now fully consolidated in RTL Group’s accounts.
In April 2017, RTL Group participated in a Series B funding round for VideoAmp, increasing its share in the US-based advertising technology company to approximately 24 per cent on a fully-diluted basis. VideoAmp operates a platform for cross-screen data optimisation.
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s EBITDA was stable at €168 million (Q1/2016: €169 million). The German channels significantly increased their lead over the ProSiebenSat1 channels to 5.5% in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 (Q1/2016: 4.0%). With a total audience share of 5.2%, the German TV channel Vox surpassed competitor ProSieben (4.6%), underlining its position among the top TV channels in Germany.
At Groupe M6, EBITDA decreased to €76 million (Q1/2016: €90 million), reflecting lower EBITDA contributions from SND and the football club Girondins de Bordeaux, partly compensated by higher TV advertising.
RTL Nederland’s EBITDA was down to €1 million (Q1/2016: €3 million), mainly due to lower TV advertising sales.
“Following the exceptionally strong first quarter 2016 with an early Easter, we have returned to regular business in the first quarter of 2017. Nonetheless, our profitability remains on a high level and we will continue to significantly invest in digital and content,” said Bert Habets and Guillaume de Posch, Co-Chief Executive Officers of RTL Group, in a joint statement.
“As stated in prior years, the first quarter is not necessarily an indicator for the full year. This is especially true for FremantleMedia. We can only emphasise once more that the content business cannot be managed on a quarterly basis. The launch of American Gods on the US pay-TV channel Starz and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 territories will have a positive impact on FremantleMedia’s revenue in Q2. RTL Group maintains its outlook for the full year 2017 and expects total Group revenue to increase moderately and EBITDA to be broadly stable.
“We are excited about the launch of American Gods, which is one of FremantleMedia’s signature productions in 2017 and the second major project coming out of the company’s push into drama, following The Young Pope in 2016. Looking at the show’s exceptional audience shares on Starz and great praise from fans and critics alike, FremantleMedia once more created must-see television. Just a few days ago, they announced that American Idol, one of the most iconic shows in TV history, will come back on the US network ABC. Both are proof of what we have said before: exclusive content is the power engine for everything we do in the total video universe.”