A global force in video production, aggregation and monetisation
The following segment describes RTL Group’s strategy from the angle of the Group’s three strategic areas – broadcast, content and digital. In short, RTL Group’s general strategic goal within the ‘Total Video’ universe is to maximise consumers’ attention to its broad variety of video offers, across all devices.
Strengthening RTL Group’s core business remains a key part of the Group’s strategy, and building and extending families of channels is key to tackling increasing audience fragmentation and competition in a digital, multi-channel world. In recent years, RTL Group’s families of channels have been enhanced by the addition of several digital channels with clearly defined profiles, including Nitro, RTL Plus, Toggo Plus, W9, 6ter, and RTL Z.
As ‘must-see’ content becomes ever-more valued by today’s digital audience, broadcasters invest in top-quality content that attracts high viewing figures – especially locally
One focus of the broadcast strategy is to achieve a significant increase in non-advertising revenue by establishing a second revenue stream from platform operators. RTL Group aims to receive a fair revenue share for its brands and programmes from the major distribution platforms – cable network operators, satellite companies and internet TV providers – for new services such as high-definition TV channels, on-demand platforms and digital pay channels.
As ‘must-see’ content becomes ever-more valued by today’s digital audience, broadcasters must invest in top-quality content that will attract high viewing figures – especially locally. As well as nurturing and refreshing established popular shows, news, daily soaps and reality formats, RTL Group’s broadcasters invest significantly in developing new, exclusive formats and premium content that build image, strengthen the brand and – most importantly – command exclusivity in the marketplace. The major task for today’s linear TV channels is to create a unique selling proposition – wherever the consumers are.
As well as nurturing and refreshing established popular shows and reality formats, RTL Group’s broadcasters invest significantly in developing new, exclusive formats
In addition to their linear signal, RTL Group’s broadcasters extend their premium linear TV content into the non-linear world. They have quickly succeeded in establishing their own on-demand platforms, making their programmes available on all devices. These platforms are predominantly ad-financed. Now, RTL Group’s broadcasters have identified interesting business opportunities for hybrid models, consisting of a free, advertising-funded service and a paid, premium content bundle – offering the programmes of RTL Group’s linear TV channels with licensed content from third parties.
RTL Group registers more and more global ad buying from advertisers and agencies, driven by the “walled garden” solutions of the big US players. As a consequence, RTL Group invests into its international sales house RTL AdConnect to ensure it serves international advertisers/agencies with its families of channels, on-demand services and MPNs. Formerly known as IP Network, RTL AdConnect provides a simplified access to RTL Group’s large portfolio of TV and VOD services, MPNs and advertising technology – all this in a transparent and brand safe environment. In addition to RTL Group, and to be relevant in all main markets in Europe, RTL AdConnect’s portfolio encompasses leading partners such as ITV in the UK, RAI in Italy or even Medialaan in Belgium. Thanks to these partnerships, RTL Group is the only company in Europe which is able to offer advertisers pan-European digital video campaigns.
The strategic pillar of content is mainly served by RTL Group’s production arm Fremantle. Fremantle’s strategy has three pillars:
1) Maintaining the company’s position as a leading producer of quality programming by nurturing established brands such as Idols, Got Talent and The Farmer Wants a Wife, while investing into creating new formats and brands.
2) Diversifying Fremantle’s portfolio by strengthening its local businesses and increasing prime-time drama. Fremantle has made a series of investments in recent years (with options to buy the remaining stakes in the future), to strengthen capabilities in the scripted, entertainment and factual genres.
Meanwhile, investments in high-end productions accelerate the company’s growth in prime-time drama. Following the premiere of The Young Pope – produced by Fremantle’s Italian production arm Wildside – and Fremantle’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods, Fremantle’s push into drama continued in 2017 with the signature productions such as Deutschland 86, Hard Sun and Picnic at Hanging Rock in 2018.
3) Maximising the global Fremantle network by increasing scale in strategic markets. In recent years, the company has strengthened its Scandinavian and southern European footprint with the opening of new offices in Sweden, Norway and Spain. In 2017, Fremantle made several investments, among them Easy Tiger Productions in Australia.
Fremantle continues to diversify its creative pipeline with a bold and ambitious scripted strategy
First, the Group is extending its premium linear TV content into the non-linear world. RTL Group’s channels have quickly succeeded in establishing their own on-demand platforms, making their programmes available on all devices – PCs, smartphones, tablets and internet-connected TV sets. Examples include TV Now in Germany, 6play in France and RTL XL in the Netherlands. Most recently, the 6play platform was rolled out to other RTL Group territories as a white label solution, and is or shortly be available in Croatia, Belgium and Hungary.
Online video has matured and is now moving towards the screen in the living room – live and on demand. Accordingly, RTL Group’s broadcasters across Europe have identified interesting business opportunities for hybrid models, consisting of a free, advertising-funded catch-up service and a paid, premium content bundle – offering the programmes of linear TV channels plus licensed content from third parties. With these hybrid models, RTL Group will build the next generation of TV, bringing linear TV channels and on-demand services much closer together.
Total Video means maximising consumers’ attention to all of RTL Group’s video offers, across all platforms and devices. This includes the Group’s multi-platform networks such as BBTV, StyleHaul, Divimove, Golden Network, RTL MCN, United Screens.
There are three key reasons:
Further substantial growth of RTL Group’s digital revenue requires new skills in advertising technology. To grow its ad-tech business, RTL Group will combine SpotX and Smartclip by the end of 2018, launch the integrated platform across its operations, and scale it up through additional acquisitions and partnerships. The purpose of the combination is to create a global, independent monetisation platform for broadcasters, SVOD services and publishers. The combined entity will focus on ad-server development and addressable TV, which provide the Group with dynamic ad-insertion capabilities. It will also work with two of the Group's minority shareholdings (VideoAmp and Clypd) with the aim of positioning itself as an innovation leader among independent ad-tech platforms.
RTL Group’s vision is to create an independent, global monetisation platform for video – a large, innovative, customer-friendly alternative for publishers. The Group is already up and running with its different services.
Latest update: September 2018
Photo Collage 1 : Magda macht das schon! (© MG RTL D), Farmer Wants a Wife (© RTL Croatia), Scènes de ménages (© Serge Leplege/M6), Top Chef (© Gaetan Bernard), Der Lehrer (© MG RTL D) and Oh Wat Een Jar (© Roy Beusker)
Photo collage 2 : Les reines du shopping (© M6), Club der roten Bänder (© VOX - Martin Rottenkolber), L'amour est dans le pré (© Jean Brice Lemal), Face au juge (© Jean-Michel Clajot), Le meilleur pâtissier (© Marie Etchegoyen), Dance, Dance, Dance
Photo collage 3 : The Young Pope (© Gianni Fiorito), Hard Sun (© BBC), American Gods (© 2017 Fremantle North America) and Picnic At Hanging Rock (© 2017 Fremantle)