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RTL Group Reports 53% Hike in Profit

Revenue fell 1.3% to $3.71 billion

LONDON — RTL Group, Europe’s leading broadcast network with interests in 53 channels in 10 countries, has reported a massive hike in earnings for the first half of the year.

Net profit was up 52.6% to €418 million ($558 million), benefiting from the reversal of a 2012 impairment, totaling €72 million ($96 million), on the group’s shareholding in Spanish net Atresmedia (formerly Grupo Antena 3).

Revenue fell 1.3% to Euros 2.78 billion ($3.71 billion) as conditions in the TV ad market remained challenging. Only the German TV ad market was stable year-on-year, while all of the group’s other core markets fell.

EBITA jumped 9.1% to €552 million ($737 million), the second best first-half EBITA in the group’s history. EBITA of RTL in Germany rose by 9.3% to €306 million ($409 million). EBITA of France’s M6 was slightly up to €127 million ($170 million). FremantleMedia, RTL’s production and distribution arm, reported EBITA of €47 million ($63 million), compared with €40 million ($53 million) last year.

RTL Group continues to grow its digital presence. In June, it acquired a 51% stake in Broadband TV, YouTube’s fifth largest Multi-Channel Network. In July, it acquired a 65% stake in The Entertainment Group, the leading pay video-on-demand company in the Netherlands. RTL Group’s video services and websites attracted 4.8 billion online video views in the first half of this year, up 35% year-on-year.

Anke Schaeferkordt and Guillaume de Posch (pictured), co-CEOs of RTL Group, said in a joint statement: “Our strong interim results again demonstrate the resilience of our diversified portfolio and business model. Despite a tough economic environment, all profit indicators — EBITA, profit margin and net result — were significantly up.”

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