×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

RTL Group Q1 Revenues Drop 1.9% Due to Absence of ‘American Idol’

RTL Group, Europe’s leading entertainment network, saw revenues dip 1.9% to €1.405 billion ($1.5 billion) in the first quarter of 2017, the company announced Thursday. RTL said the drop was due entirely to the absence of FremantleMedia’s “American Idol” on U.S. network Fox.

“Following the exceptionally strong first quarter 2016 with an early Easter, we have returned to regular business in the first quarter of 2017. Nonetheless, our profitability remains on a high level, and we will continue to significantly invest in digital and content,” said RTL Group co-CEOs Bert Habets and Guillaume de Posch in a statement released Thursday morning.

EBITDA was down 8.3% at €264 million ($287.2 million), which RTL said was largely due to lower profit contributions for soccer club Girondins de Bordeaux and FremantleMedia. Despite the year-on-year decline, the €264 million is still RTL’s second-highest first quarter EBITDA.

RTL said the absence of “American Idol,” which aired its final season on Fox mainly during the first quarter of 2016, more than offset the higher revenue from Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Groupe M6 and the group’s dynamically growing digital business, resulting in the net loss. It was a key factor in FremantleMedia seeing its EBITDA down 31.6% to €13 million ($14.1 million) during the first quarter.

Habets and de Posch insisted that first-quarter results were not necessarily an indicator for the full year, saying this was especially true for FremantleMedia, whose adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” launched on U.S. pay-TV channel Starz on April 30. “We can only emphasize once more that the content business cannot be managed on a quarterly basis,” the co-CEOs said in their statement.

“The launch of ‘American Gods’ on Starz and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 territories will have a positive impact on FremantleMedia’s revenue in Q2,” said Habets and de Posch, who highlighted the news that “American Idol” would return to U.S. television on ABC. “Both are proof of what we have said before: exclusive content is the power engine for everything we do in the total video universe.”

Adjusting for the “American Idol” effect, the company said the group had recorded growth of about 4%, in line with its expectation of an increase in total revenue of 2.5% to 5% for the year. Digital revenues continued to be a key growth driver, up 48.3% year-on-year.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content