German, French, Dutch operations boost bottom line

Higher TV ad sales in Germany, France and the Netherlands, and growing revenue at its London-based production and distribution unit FremantleMedia boosted pan-European broadcaster RTL Group’s results in the third quarter.

The company’s sales grew 6.6% to €1.24 billion ($1.7 billion), while earnings (before interest, tax and amortization) climbed 8.3% to $197 million. RTL did not post net profit figures, which are only published in its full-year reports.

Higher profit contributions from FremantleMedia, as well as from RTL’s German and Dutch divisions, helped lift overall earnings.

FremantleMedia’s hit formats, including “X Factor,” “Got Talent” and “The Farmer Wants a Wife,” continue to score strong primetime ratings in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia and France.

In the first nine months of the year, RTL’s revenue grew 4.4% to $5.4 billion, while earnings climbed 4.6% to $956 million thanks to higher profit contributions from RTL Germany and RTL Netherlands as well as Group M6’s TV channels in France.

RTL’s main European channels have had a good start in the new fall season. In Germany, RTL Television achieved an audience share of 19% among young viewers in September, up year-on-year, while M6 boasted an audience share of 17.6% among housewives under 50 in September, making it the only major French channel to increase its ratings compared with the previous year.

In the Netherlands, RTL channels scored a combined primetime share of 37.5% in the key 20-49 demo in September, up 1.7 percentage points year-on-year, while RTL 4 achieved its best September ratings since 1997.

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