08 February 2001, Luxembourg
RTL Group will launch the German TV homeshopping channel RTL SHOP on March 1st. The new shopping channel will be broadcast 24 hours a day via the Astra 1 A satellite. In addition, RTL SHOP will produce a homeshopping window for Germany's leading commercial channel, RTL Television. RTL SHOP's shareholders are RTL Television (55 per cent) and its online and interactive subsidiary, RTL NEW MEDIA (25 per cent), and the French TV group M6 (20 per cent), in which RTL Group also has a participation. The investment for the launch of RTL SHOP amounts to EUR 33 million. Breakeven is expected after three years.
RTL SHOP will position itself as an innovative and exclusive provider of quality products, including fitness equipment, beauty products, kitchenware, jewellery, consumer electronics and computer games as well as RTL-related merchandise, travel and financial services. Initially, the channel will carry six hours of live programming each day. This will be extended to sixteen hours as soon as possible thereafter. RTL SHOP will also be accessible through the Internet and teletext.
As from February 12th, RTL SHOP will launch a homeshopping window on RTL Television. In comparison to the 24-hour channel itself, the shopping window will have a stronger emphasis on entertainment. Similar shopping windows will follow on other RTL Group channels, VOX and RTL II.
Logistical and technical services will be provided by the Bertelsmann Services Group, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann's Arvato AG. Bertelsmann Services Group is an international leader in the area of complex logistical solutions.
RTL SHOP will directly employ 60 persons and create a total of around 360 jobs in the region of Nordrhein-Westfalen in 2001. Over time, projected growth in activity should result in around 1000 new jobs. Heinz Scheve, former head of Human Resources of RTL Television, has been appointed managing director of RTL SHOP.
Ewald Walgenbach, Chief Operating Officer of RTL Group, explains "By joining the new generation of thematic broadcasters, we are further strengthening our RTL brand, with a view to digital and interactive TV. RTL SHOP is an excellent example of RTL Group's strategy as a pan-European player: building families of brands and channels; extending these families by launching complementary services; and leveraging the tremendous cross promotion potential that results from these activities. Furthermore, we are strengthening our buying power throughout Europe and sharing our know-how between countries and group companies."
RTL Television's Managing Director, Gerhard Zeiler said, "Through RTL SHOP, we are entering a very promising market with high growth rates and a revenue potential of EUR 1 Bio in Germany alone. The new venture also opens up great potential for synergy - its complementary nature to the activities of RTL MEDIA will strengthen our position in e-commerce. In this way, RTL SHOP is creating a basis for further diversification into the digital world."