Germany, France boost results

BERLIN — Citing strong business from TV operations in Germany and France as well as production activity in the U.K., RTL Group again achieved a record half-year result, with net profit up 5% to Euros 296 million ($405 million). Revenue grew 1.3% to $3.95 billion.

RTL topper Gerhard Zeiler noted that operating profit (before interest, tax and amortization) in the first six months exceeded the $700 million mark for the first time. Zeiler said the boost was “largely fueled by our three major profit centers — the family of channels in Germany, the M6 group in France and FremantleMedia (in the U.K.).”

RTL’s success in the German and French TV markets contributed substantially to the group’s improved performance over last year despite the sale earlier this year of M6’s stake in pay TV unit TPS and last year’s muscular ad sales, which were boosted by the World Cup soccer championship.

The results highlight the importance of strong channel families, said Zeiler. “The RTL family grew its audience market shares considerably in the very competitive German market. In France, M6 Group’s digital channels showed very dynamic growth, led by W9.”

Zeiler also said RTL’s recent asset-swap deal with John de Mol would “help us to further enhance the position of RTL’s Dutch family of channels.”

The agreement made the Dutch TV tycoon a shareholder in RTL Nederland and gave the broadcaster de Mol’s Dutch TV and radio holdings, including channel Tien, which this month relaunched as RTL 8.

Looking forward, Zeiler said: “We remain cautious but optimistic on the outlook for advertising in the second half of the year where visibility remains limited.”

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