Revenue: $3.6 billion
Loss: $2.2 billion
With Thomas Middelhoff out of the picture at Bertelsmann, all eyes are on the company’s flagship division, RTL Group. Europe’s largest commercial broadcaster has become Bertelsmann’s main revenue engine.
Officials at Euro TV unit RTL Group have played down fears of a major disengagement by its parent group from the television business.
One insider says RTL’s own strategic course would remain unchanged.
RTL Group’s German broadcaster, RTL Television, was the country’s biggest moneymaker in the first half of 2002 with revenues at $976 million.
While its rival Kirch-owned broadcasters tighten their belts in the wake of Kirch Group bankruptcies, RTL Television has taken advantage of discount film prices and continued to stock up on big-name pics. In the past few months, it inked a $200 million film package from Warner Bros. as well as a smaller bundle from the now-insolvent local distrib Helkon Media, including titles such as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Wedding Planner” and “Rules of Engagement.”
Last year, RTL Group posted net losses of $2.2 billion on revenues of $4 billion.