European media giant Bertelsmann has seen a strong first half of the year in 2015, reporting revenues at €8.04 billion ($9 billion), the company’s highest figure since 2007.
It’s a 2.5% year-on-year hike for the German media conglom, which owns Europe’s largest broadcaster RTL Group, music rights company BMG, book publisher Penguin Random House, magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, and FremantleMedia, which produces and distributes shows like “X-Factor,” “Idol” and “Got Talent.”
Group profits were up nearly 55% at $446 million (€398 million) in the first half of 2015, driven by RTL Group’s good business in Germany and its continued digital expansion while numerous bestsellers from Penguin Random House such as Paula Hawkins’ debut tome “The Girl on the Train” and E.L. James’ newest publication “Grey” also helped boost group figures.
RTL Group, which owns FremantleMedia, accounted for $3.13 billion in revenues for Bertelsmann. The subsidiary has been moving aggressively into the digital arena, having recently acquired French online outfit Oxygem. In June, it set up the RTL Digital Hub, which bundled its digital businesses, including BroadbandTV, StyleHaul and technology platform for online ads SpotXchange, all into one unit, which posted double digit revenue growth in the first six months of the year.
Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe said that the operating result is the best in the company’s history.
“This signifies how well we are progressing in making Bertelsmann a faster-growing, more digital and more international company,” he said. “In the first half of 2015, we achieved further progress towards these goals; our education business has already taken clear shape. Our highly profitable core businesses form a strong foundation from which we are expanding into new growth areas. We will continue to invest in the months ahead to move forward on our path to becoming a ‘New Bertelsmann.’”