Latest results published by the company show that the former generated record earnings:, with EBITDA growing by 3.5% to €743 million (2016: €718 million). This was mainly driven by higher TV and digital advertising as well as platform revenue, despite the challenging environment in which the German net TV ad market was down.
Meanwhile, the EBITDA of FremantleMedia, RTL Group’s global content production arm, increased to €140 million (2016: €129 million), reflecting higher profit contributions from the businesses in North America and Europe. The EBITDA margin improved to 9.5% (2016: 8.6%).
On the other hand, Groupe M6’s EBITDA was down to €389 million (2016: €400 million), mainly due to the positive one-off effect from the gradual phase-out of the M6 Mobile contract in 2016. Adjusted for this effect, EBITDA was up 9%. The French TV advertising market was estimated to be stable year-on-year, with Groupe M6’s channels outperforming the market.
At the same time, RTL Nederland’s EBITDA was down to €87 million (2016: €96 million), due to lower advertising revenue and higher investment in the SVOD platform Videoland.
RTL Group’s revenues increased by 2.2% in 2017 to €6,237 million, while EBITDA reached a new record level of €1,464 million (+3.8%). Net profit was €739 million (+2.6%).
Commenting on the results, CEO Bert Habets said: “This set of strong results shows that we are in an excellent position to write the next chapter in RTL Group’s success story. To succeed in this mission, we have to go back to our roots, to re-invigorate RTL’s pioneering spirit – one of taking calculated risks, putting consumers first to maximise the time they spend with our content and sharing best practices and business opportunities across our group.
“While we have a highly profitable, cash-generating core business in TV broadcasting, growth in our ‘Total Video’ industry mainly comes from non-linear or streaming services. To tap into this significant growth potential, we will increase investment in our on-demand services in the countries where we have strong families of channels. The launch of new services in Belgium, Hungary and Croatia over the next few months – all based on the French 6play platform – is the first example. We will also continue to build and develop our multi-platform networks and our investments in ad-tech.
“FremantleMedia will continue its successful push into high-end drama production, in all key countries. And with this push, also the streaming platforms become meaningful clients for FremantleMedia as recently demonstrated with American Gods and Deutschland 86.”