CLT-UFA becomes RTL Group, the leading pan-European broadcasting and production company, and aims to increase stakes in its channels wherever possible.
CLT-UFA increases its stakes in Vox and Channel 5.
The merger of CLT-UFA and Pearson Televison – a London–based content production company – creates Europe’s leading integrated broadcaster and content provider: RTL Group. RTL Group is listed on the London, Brussels and Luxembourg stock exchanges. The merger significantly reinforces RTL Group’s position in the content business. Pearson Group’s stakes in Antena 3 – a Spanish TV channel – and in Channel 5 are brought into RTL Group as part of the merger.
Following a share swap with GBL – in which GBL exchanged its 30 per cent stake in RTL Group for a 25 per cent stake in Bertelsmann AG – Bertelsmann becomes majority shareholder of RTL Group. On 11 May, the European Commission approves RTL Group’s new shareholding structure. Bertelsmann now holds a 67 per cent majority in RTL Group.
RTL Group, Canal Plus Group and Groupe Jean-Claude Darmon sign an agreement to merge their sports rights activities, creating Sportfive, the leading sports rights company.
RTL Group retreats from the UK radio market and the Polish TV market, selling Atlantic 252 to Teamtalk, and RTL 7 to ITI Group.
In December, Bertelsmann enters into an agreement with Pearson, to acquire Pearson’s 22 per cent stake in RTL Group.
Pearson Television is rebranded FremantleMedia.
The final of the FremantleMedia production Pop Idol wins a huge UK audience, inspiring the start of a successful international roll-out of the Idols format.
RTL Group acquires German news channel N-TV, plus various holdings in German radio stations from Holtzbrinck, including Radio NRW, Antenne Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Antenne Thüringen, BB Radio, Antenne Niedersachsen, and Radio Brocken.
RTL Group delists from the London Stock Exchange but remains listed on the Brussels and Luxembourg stock exchanges.
HMG is awarded a frequency for a new radio station, RTL FM, and improved coverage for Yorin FM.
The Belgian family of RTL channels is expanded, with the launch of Plug TV (renamed Plug RTL in 2008).
M6 acquires Paris Première, a pay-TV channel based in Paris.
RTL Group launches the Croatian TV channel RTL Televizija, increasing the company’s presence in Eastern Europe.
RTL Group sells its interest in Sportfive and completes a new transaction with Advent International. Funds managed by Advent International and RTL Group are used to form a new company that purchases the shares in Sportfive that were formerly held by RTL Group and Canal Plus Group. RTL Group holds a 25 per cent share of this new company.
RTL Group acquires an 11.6 per cent holding in Grupo Media Capital – a leading Portuguese television and media company – through the free-to-air broadcaster TVI.
RTL Group celebrates the 50th anniversary of television broadcasts from Luxembourg.
M6 Group launches the free digital terrestrial channel, W9.
RTL Group acquires a 30 per cent shareholding in the Russian TV network, Ren TV.
The Group buys the remaining shares in the UK TV channel, Five, taking RTL Group’s shareholding to 100 per cent.2006
In the UK, Five launches two new digital thematic channels – Five Life and Five US. Meanwhile, in Germany, RTL Television launches RTL Crime, RTL Living, and Passion (a joint venture with UFA).
RTL Group sells its stake in the sports and marketing company Sportfive.
RTL Group sells its entire shareholding in the Portuguese media company, Grupo Media Capital, to Grupo Prisa.
RTL Nederland launches the family’s fourth free-TV channel, RTL 8.
The asset deal between RTL Group and John de Mol’s Talpa Media Holding – which brought Radio 538 into the Group – is closed.
RTL Radio in France launches the digital radio station RTL L’Équipe.
RTL Group acquires 66.6 per cent of Alpha Media Group in Greece.
RTL Group and FremantleMedia jointly launch UFA Cinema, and re-establish the marketing agency UFA Sports.
RTL Interactive acquires a 49 per cent stake in the internet platform Wer-kennt-wen.de, and sells RTL Shop to Aurelius.
Groupe M6 acquires Cyréalis Group and launches Girondins TV.
RTL Interactive acquires Wer-kennt-wen.de’s remaining shareholdings as part of the existing partnership agreement.
FremantleMedia acquires a 75 per cent stake in Original Productions, the US-based creator of hit television shows such as Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch, Monster Garage and Ax Men.
Alpha Media Group sells the radio stations Alpha 98.9 and Palmos 96.5.
RTL Nederland launches RTL Lounge – the fifth TV channel in its portfolio – a special-interest digital channel that broadcasts the best Dutch and foreign drama and lifestyle programmes. In October, it launches RTL Lounge Radio.
Alpha Media Group sells the TV channel Kanali 9 Thessaloniki.
RTL Radio Deutschland sells its stake in Antenne Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
RTL Nederland acquires Radio 10 Gold from Talpa Radio.
FremantleMedia buys a further 25 per cent stake of production company Blu, taking its ownership to 100 per cent, and acquires 100 per cent of Netherlands-based independent production company FourOne Media.
RTL Group sells Five Group (“Five”) to the Northern & Shell company, owned by British publisher, Richard Desmond.
Grupo Antena 3 test-launches its third digital channel on 2 August. Called Nitro, the new channel is officially launched on 23 August, catering primarily to men aged 35 to 55.
RTL Group sells its stake in Content Union.
In Croatia, RTL Televizija launches a second channel – RTL 2
RTL Group acquires the remaining shareholding in RTL Hrvatska.
RTL Nederland acquires the Dutch radio station, Slam FM, and its sister TV channel, Slam TV.
RTL Group exchanges its 30 per cent stake in Ren TV for a 7.5 per cent stake in National Media Group, one of the leading media groups in Russia.
RTL Nederland launches a second digital channel – RTL Crime.
In July, RTL Group exercises its put option towards John de Mol’s Talpa Media Holding. Following this put option, RTL Group gets back Talpa Media’s 26.3 per cent minority shareholding in RTL Nederland in exchange for 100 per cent of the shares in Radio 538. Talpa Media also takes over Radio 10 Gold and Slam FM from RTL Nederland.
RTL Group acquires a portfolio of seven Hungarian cable channels, plus a further 33 per cent shareholding in the country’s number one channel, RTL Klub.
Due to the negative market development in Greece, RTL Group sells its 70 per cent majority shareholding in Alpha Media Group to the Greek entrepreneur, Dimitris Contominas.
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland launches a new TV channel, RTL Nitro, that shows high-end German free-TV premieres, crime and sitcom classics, and popular movies.
RTL Nederland launches the digital kids channel RTL Telekids.
RTL Klub in Hungary launches RTL II.
Grupo Antena 3 merges with La Sexta. The new group operates eight TV channels: Antena 3, La Sexta, Neox, Nova, Nitro, Xplora, La Sexta 3 Todo Cine and Gol TV.
In cooperation with Reliance Broadcast Network, RTL Group launches its first channel outside of Europe: Big RTL Thrill starts broadcasting in India on 5 November.
Groupe M6 launches the DTT channel 6ter
Cable channel Reflektor ceases broadcasting in Hungary.
RTL Radio Deutschland sells its shareholding in Big FM and Radio Regenbogen.
RTL Ventures acquires a stake in Squla.
The total share capital of RTL Group has been admitted to the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, in addition to the existing listings on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Euronext Brussels.