RTL Group has agreed with the minority shareholders of SpotX to take full ownership of the company and will acquire the remaining 36.4% shareholding for $145 million (€123 million); the transaction is expected to close in October 2017.
The broadcasting group plans additional investments to further expand its ad-tech businesses and foster continued synergies between its different ad-tech entities. This plan includes the close collaboration of SpotX and Smartclip, rolling out their solutions across RTL Group’s operations and scaling up the business with further acquisitions and partnerships
“Over the past five years we have diversified our revenue streams – investing in rapidly growing digital video and ad-tech businesses, pushing into the production of high-end drama series and developing platform revenue for our broadcasters,” said Bert Habets and Guillaume de Posch, Co-CEOs of RTL Group, in a joint statement.
“The strong set of financial results in the first half of 2017 clearly underline the importance – and the success – of our total video strategy. Despite tough comparatives to the first half of 2016, RTL Group continued to grow its top line and generated a very healthy EBITDA margin of 21 per cent.
“At the same time, the challenging development of the TV advertising markets across our footprint is a clear signal to even accelerate our strategy execution. We have just decided to take full ownership of SpotX, a leading global platform for ad-serving and programmatic ad sales. Together with the very experienced management teams of SpotX and Smartclip, we are working on an ambitious growth plan for our ad-tech businesses. This plan includes the close collaboration between SpotX and Smartclip, rolling out their solutions across our operations and scaling up the businesses with further acquisitions and partnerships.”
RTL Group revenue was up 3.5% to €2,978 million (H1/2016: €2,878 million), driven by higher revenue from RTL Group’s growing digital businesses (+€125 million) and from the three main business units Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland (+€36 million), Groupe M6 (+€16 million) and FremantleMedia (+€30 million).
Platform revenue grew by 18.7% to €159 million (H1/2016: €134 million). These positive developments more than compensated the absence of FremantleMedia’s production American Idol in H1/2017 and the fact that all European TV advertising markets, in which RTL Group is active, decreased during the reporting period.
RTL Group’s digital revenue continued to show very dynamic growth, up 47.4% to €389 million (H1/2016: €264 million). This was mainly driven by organic growth at BroadbandTV and StyleHaul, the sale of American Gods to streaming service Amazon Prime Video and the first-time full consolidation of Smartclip and Divimove.
RTL Group clkaims its revenue is well diversified with 48.7% from TV advertising, 17.5%from content, 13.1% from digital activities, 5.3% from platform revenue, 4.1% from radio advertising and 11.3% other revenue.