RTL rings up record results, investments

'Millionaire' continues to dominate

LONDON — German channel RTL reported record results and record investments in local wares on Monday.

Inhouse production investment climbed to $226 million last year from $177 million in 1999, while commissioned programming hit $345 million from $324 million. Overall, RTL invested $664 million in programming compared to $607 million in 1999.

Zeiler said he considered both RTL and commissioned programming as in-house productions, adding that the company had invested around $545 million in inhouse productions compared with $115 million in acquired programming. Company is planning several local-themed epic event movies.

“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” continues to drive RTL, which boasted more than two-thirds of the highest-rated programs among viewers 14-49.

Putting its success down to its programming, RTL laid claim Monday to being the only one of the three major German webs in 2000 to grow in line with Germany’s gross television advertising market.

RTL reported annual gross advertising revenues of $1.935 billion, representing an increase of 11.8% — above the 11.5% average growth rate recorded across the German gross television advertising market last year.

By comparison, Sat 1 grew by 5.7% and ProSieben by 4.5%, according to figures from AC Nielsen.

Acknowledging that the difference in accounting standards used by RTL and its rivals ProSieben and Sat 1 made it difficult to compare exactly, company chief Gerhard Zeiler said: “One thing that you can say for sure is that we have grown stronger significantly more than Sat 1 and ProSieben.”

Meanwhile, RTL’s net revenues increased $1.193 billion to $1.311 billion (9.9%). Average net television advertising growth rate in Germany last year was 6.1%. RTL’s EBITA was up by 35% to $227.52 million.

The company described the launching of its Internet division RTL NewMedia as “matchless.” RTL World, the company’s Web site, logged a record 233 million hits in February.

RTL broadcast the press conference live via the Internet.

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