Reported Group revenue was stable at €1,416 million (Q1/2017: €1,405 million), as higher revenue contributions from Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and RTL Nederland were partly balanced by negative exchange rate effects amounting to €29 million; underlying revenue1 was up 2.6%. The Group’s digital revenue was up 6.7% to €190 million (Q1/2017: €178 million).
“During the first quarter of 2018, we generated higher TV advertising revenue in our key markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands. However, this good revenue growth was offset by negative exchange rate effects,” said Bert Habets, CEO, RTL Group.
“Our profitability remains at a high level, and with the strong operating performance of our major business units, we are in a very good position to write the next chapter in RTL Group’s success story.
“As we have said before, the first quarter is not necessarily an indicator for the full year – in particular in years with major sporting events such as the upcoming football World Cup. Thus, we will keep a close eye on seasonal swings in advertising spend and expect 2018 to be more back end loaded than
the prior years.
“In the first quarter of 2018, we launched three new video-on-demand platforms – in Hungary, Croatia and Belgium – all based on the 6play platform of Groupe M6. This is a textbook example of how closer collaboration across our Group can be key to scaling up digital businesses. We will increase
investments in our video-on-demand services with a clear focus on local, exclusive content, and gradually adopt a hybrid model – combining a free, advertising-financed service with a premium pay product.”
RTL Group brings linear TV and on-demand services closer together; In January 2018, RTL Group fully acquired United Screens, the leading multi-platform network (MPN) in the Nordic countries. On 21 March 2018, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland launched a new free-to-air channel: Now US focuses on US fiction. The channel is available exclusively via the VOD platform TV Now from 20:15 to 6:00. After broadcast, all programmes will be accessible on TV Now for up to 30 days. TV Now recorded paid subscriber growth for its TV Now Plus offer of 61% compared to Q1/2017.
During the first quarter, RTL Group’s families of channels in Croatia, Hungary and Belgium launched their new video-on-demand offers. These platforms are based on Groupe M6’s 6playplatform adapted to local needs.
RTL Nederland’s video-on-demand service, Videoland, recorded paid subscriber growth of 82% compared to Q1/2017. In April 2018, RTL Nederland announced that it plans to merge its video-on-demand offers – Videoland and RTL XL – into a single platform.