Media conglom Bertelsmann owns a 75.1% stake in RTL Group, and Bertelsmann’s CEO, Thomas Rabe, is also chair of RTL Group’s board of directors. Its other businesses include book publishers Penguin Random House, magazine publishers Gruner + Jahr and music-rights company BMG.
Its strategy and priorities can be summed up in two words: transformation and growth.
Transformation means a shift to digital, which presents opportunities such as the availability of content anywhere, anytime, the possibilities provided by interactivity and social media, and lower costs of production and distribution. Challenges include piracy and the strong market position of e-tailers, such as Amazon.
Bertelsmann maintains its faith in the TV biz due to its great reach and its ability to be a cost-effective vehicle for advertising.
For Bertelsmann, RTL’s priorities should be to continue to build families of channels that cater to audiences in a more targeted way, increasingly look at revenue models other than advertising, including pay TV, and drive the monetization of online video.
Bertelsmann’s goal over the next five to 10 years is to build a more diversified portfolio, with more exposure in emerging markets.