30.04.2020, Luxembourg, RTL Group
On 30 April 2020, RTL Group published its quarterly statement for the first three months of 2020 (Q1/2020).
Reported Group revenue was down 3.4 per cent to €1,466 million (Q1/2019: €1,518 million), mainly due to lower TV advertising revenue resulting from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Underlying revenue was €1,441 million (Q1/2019: €1,490 million).
Revenue from RTL Group’s broadcasting operations was down 4.8 per cent, to €1,035 million (Q1/2019: €1,087 million).
Content revenue, which represents Fremantle, was down 1.3 per cent to €378 million (Q1/2019: €383 million), mainly as a result of timing effects.
Digital revenue generated by BBTV, Divimove and SpotX was up 3.0 per cent to €103 million (Q1/2019: €100 million), thanks to growth at all three businesses. Streaming revenue from TV Now and Videoland was up 19.4 per cent to €37 million (Q1/2019: €31 million), thanks to the increased number of streaming subscriptions.
As a result, RTL Group’s total digital revenue was up 5.9 per cent to €233 million (Q1/2019: €220 million).
RTL Group has low levels of debt and significant, unused and committed Bertelsmann credit facilities with no maturities before 2023. As of 31 March 2020, RTL Group had a net debt position of €200 million (31 December 2019: net debt of €384 million).
Net TV advertising market growth rates and RTL Group audience shares in main target groups
RTL Group estimates that the net TV advertising markets were down across RTL Group’s key markets. A summary of RTL Group’s key markets is shown below, including estimates of net TV advertising market growth rates and the audience share of the main target audience group.
net TV advertising market
(in per cent)
|RTL Group audience share in main target group Q1/2020
(in per cent)
|RTL Group audience share in main target group Q1/2019
(in per cent)
|Germany||(4.0) to (4.5)||28.5||28.2|
At the end of March 2020, RTL Group registered 1.53 million paying subscribers for its streaming services TV Now in Germany and Videoland in the Netherlands, up 34 per cent year on year. Both services have seen a higher growth rate for new subscribers since the introduction of lockdown measures in mid-March 2020. In France, Groupe M6’s streaming service 6play recorded additional one million registered users and a 45 per cent increase of videos viewed between 16 March and 16 April 2020.
During the coronavirus pandemic, RTL Group was able to increase its net reach, viewing times and digital usage across all channels, platforms and countries. In March 2020, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s news channel, NTV, more than doubled its audience share to 1.9 per cent for 14 to 59-year-olds year on year (March 2019: 0.9 per cent), was watched increasingly by younger audiences and was the leading news brand among information broadcasters in Germany. In France, M6’s news formats Le 1245 and Le 1945 registered average audience shares of 21.1 per cent and 19.0 per cent in the commercial target group for March 2020. From the beginning of lockdown in France until the end of March 2020, Le 1245 recorded an audience growth of 90 per cent compared to the average audience share of the season 2019/2020.
Fremantle had a successful start to 2020 with American Idol, America’s Got Talent: The Champions and the reality-dating formats Five Guys a Week on Channel 4 and Too Hot to Handle on Netflix. Fremantle also continued its push into drama production with the launches of The New Pope on Sky Italia, Baghdad Central on Channel 4 and the UFA Fiction film Betonrausch on Netflix. Too Hot to Handle is about to become one of the biggest competition shows on Netflix. The show has reached the top of Netflix’s ‘most-watched’ charts in the UK, US and Canada, numerous European countries as well as Pakistan and South Africa.
One year after the launch of the German audio platform Audio Now in March 2019, the service has launched 80 original podcasts and already registered an average of 6 million monthly users.
In France, M6’s news formats registered higher average audience shares / Too Hot to Handle is about to become one of the biggest competition shows on Netflix
Given the current economic uncertainty, RTL Group’s Board of Directors decided on 2 April 2020 to withdraw the previous outlook (dated 13 March 2020) which did not reflect the coronavirus outbreak.
As stated on 2 April 2020, global economic development and prospects have significantly deteriorated since mid-March, when RTL Group gave its outlook statement. The Group is currently not in a position to provide a new outlook for the full year 2020.
Figures presented in this quarterly statement are not audited.