Profile

RTL Group – Entertain. Inform. Engage.

With interests in 67 television channels, eight video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, 30 radio stations, a global business for content production and distribution, and rapidly growing digital video businesses, RTL Group entertains, informs and engages audiences around the world.

The Luxembourg-based company owns stakes in TV channels and radio stations in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Hungary and Croatia. With Fremantle, it is one of the world’s leading producers of television content: from talent and game shows to drama, daily soaps and telenovelas, including Idols, Got Talent, Good Times, Bad Times and Family Feud. Combining the on-demand services of its broadcasters, the digital video businesses BroadbandTV, Divimove, United Screens and Fremantle’s more than 300 YouTube channels, RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video. In 2018, the Group combined the video ad-tech platform SpotX with the European platform Smartclip.

The roots of the company date back to 1924, when Radio Luxembourg first went on air. Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion (CLR) was founded in 1931. As a European pioneer, the company broadcast a unique programme in several languages using the same wavelength.

RTL Group itself was created in spring 2000, following the merger of Luxembourg-based CLT-UFA and the British content production company Pearson TV, owned by Pearson PLC. CLT-UFA had been created in 1997 when the shareholders of UFA (Bertelsmann) and the historic Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion – CLT (Audiofina) merged their TV, radio and TV production businesses.

Bertelsmann has been the majority shareholder of RTL Group since July 2001. RTL Group’s shares (ISIN: LU0061462528) are publicly traded on the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt and Luxembourg stock exchanges. Since September 2013, RTL Group has been listed in the prestigious MDAX stock index. As of 13 May 2019, the RTL Group shares are no longer listed on Euronext Brussels. RTL Group publishes its consolidated accounts in accordance with IFRS.

RTL Group’s business comprises the following six reporting segments: Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland (including RTL Radio Deutschland and the ad-tech business Smartclip), Groupe M6 (including the French RTL family of radio stations), Fremantle, RTL Nederland, RTL Belgium and others (which includes RTL Hungary, RTL Croatia, RTL Group’s Luxembourgish activities and the investment accounted for using the equity method, Atresmedia in Spain). Other segments also includes RTL Group’s ad-tech businesses SpotX, and the digital video companies such as BBTV, Divimove and United Screens.

Groupe M6 and Atresmedia are themselves listed companies, with the shares being traded on the stock exchanges of Paris and Madrid respectively.

The business areas

Broadcast

Television: RTL Group is Europe’s largest free-to-air broadcaster. Each day, millions of viewers all over Europe watch RTL Group’s television channels, which include the families of channels clustered around the flagships RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, RTL 4 in the Netherlands and RTL-TVI in Belgium. The Group also has broadcasting operations in Hungary (RTL Klub, RTL II, and six cable channels), Croatia (RTL Televizija, RTL 2, RTL Kockica), and Luxembourg, as well as interests in Atresmedia in Spain.

VOD: RTL Group’s broadcasters operate eight streaming platforms in seven countries in Europe. At the end of September 2019, RTL Group registered 1.4 million paying subscribers for its streaming services (the pay services TV Now in Germany and Videoland in the Netherlands), up 50 per cent year on year. Other VOD platforms are the advertising-financed services 6Play in France, RTL Play in Belgium and Croatia, RTL Most in Hungary, RTL XL in the Netherlands, and Atresplayer in Spain.

Radio: RTL Group’s radio stations reach millions of listeners each day. The Group’s flagship radio station is RTL Radio in France, and it also owns or has interests in stations in Germany (including 104.6 RTL, Antenne Bayern), Belgium (Bel RTL, Radio Contact), Spain (Onda Cero, Europa FM, Melodía FM) and Luxembourg (RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg, Eldoradio).

Content

RTL Group’s content production arm, Fremantle, is one of the largest creators, producers and distributors of television brands in the world. With operations in over 30 territories, Fremantle is responsible for around 12,700 hours of TV programming broadcast each year. It also distributes more than 20,000 hours of content in over 200 territories.

Digital

RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video and is ranked among the top global players in this segment. Since 2013, RTL Group has made key investments in several companies for short-form video content such as BBTV, Divimove and United Screens. In July 2019, RTL Group announced that it would combine its digital video business in the Nordics (United Screens) with Divimove. It also plans to integrate the Dutch RTL MCN into the combined entity. 

RTL Group has also invested in advertising technology, in the form of video ad serving platform SpotX in the US and monetisation platform Smartclip in Europe. On 28 August 2019, RTL Group announced a strategic review of its ad-tech businesses. With immediate effect, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland takes over the responsibility for the Group’s ad-tech businesses in all European markets (except the UK), bundled under the brand Smartclip. The UK will continue to be the hub that centralises the operations for SpotX Global in Europe. SpotX and Smartclip will continue to work closely to deliver leading technology and monetisation solutions to existing and new European clients.

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