This was 71% more than the 1.59 million total a year earlier.
In its latest set of results, RTL Group says that paying subscribers for TV Now in the year to March 31 doubled to 1.718 million, with the strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle TV Now Premium in Magenta TV contributing significantly to the growth. Meanwhile, paying subscribers for Videoland grew by 38% year-on-year to 1.006 million. Streaming revenues for the two services rose by 40.5% to €52 million, while RTL Group’s platform revenues rose by 7.1% to €106 million.
The group’s revenues as a whole in Q1 were, at €1,404 million, 4.2% lower than in the same period last year. Its content business Fremantle accounted for €433 million (+14.6%) of the total, while ad revenue fell from €796 million to €745 million over the same period. RTL Group estimates that the net TV ad markets were down year on year in Germany and the Netherlands in Q1, while the French TV ad market was slightly up after strong growth in the month of March.
Commenting on the results, Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group, said: “Our streaming services TV Now and Videoland accelerated their growth, adding more than half a million new paying subscribers in the first three months of the year. This demonstrates how our streaming investments in content, marketing and technology – and our strategic partnerships – boost our progress towards creating national streaming champions. With new high-end drama series and a broad portfolio of entertainment shows, our global content business, Fremantle, had a strong start to the year.
“Driven by our streaming and content production business, RTL Group’s revenue was up by almost 4% organically in the first quarter – although lockdown measures led to lower TV advertising revenue. We see strong growth of our TV advertising revenue across our footprint for the second quarter of the year and confirm our outlook for the full year 2021.
“As stated before, there is a strong case for consolidation in the European broadcasting industry. We are currently reviewing such options for our broadcasting businesses in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, with a view to creating value for our shareholders”.