Bertelsmann’s Luxembourg-based media giant RTL Group has declared its 2021 half-yearly results and is projecting revenues at its content arm Fremantle to grow to €3 billion ($3.52 billion) by 2025 after a pandemic-affected 2020.
The RTL Group has interests in 67 television channels, 10 streaming platforms and 38 radio stations. The group’s content business, Fremantle, is one of the world’s largest creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted content, including “American Idol,” “Britain’s Got Talent,” and “The X Factor.” Fremantle’s “The Mosquito Coast” was recently renewed for Season 2 on Apple TV Plus.
Revenue at Fremantle in the first half of 2021 was up 28.6% to €909 million, compared to €707 million in the corresponding period in 2020. Fremantle’s adjusted Earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITA) more than doubled to €61 million from €23 million in 2020.
“We will accelerate the expansion of our content production business, Fremantle –- both organically and via M&A –- targeting €3 billion revenue by 2025.” said Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group. “Fremantle will continue to focus on scripted, non-scripted and increasingly on factual shows and documentaries. The acquisitions of Abot Hameiri, Eureka and NENT Studios so far this year were first steps.”
The overall numbers at the RTL Group are robust. Group revenue was up 13.7% to €3 billion, compared to €2.65 billion in 2020, mainly due to strong growth of TV advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2021, of Fremantle and of the streaming businesses. Adjusted EBITA was up 87.2% to €483 million, while group profit was up to €929 million, due to strong operating performance and capital gains.
Paying subscribers for RTL Group’s streaming services in Germany and the Netherlands were up 72% to more than three million and streaming revenue was up 34% to €107 million.
The full-year outlook for 2021 has been raised, with group revenue projected at €6.5 billion (previous guidance: €6.2 billion) and adjusted EBITA of around €1.05 billion (previous guidance: €975 million).
“With all these changes, the time has come to reposition our core RTL brand with a new identity and a clear set of principles,” Rabe added. “We will strengthen RTL as Europe’s leading entertainment brand that stands for positive entertainment and independent journalism, as well as inspiration, energy and attitude.”
The rebranding has begun and TV Now will be known as RTL Plus in Germany from fall 2021, with an international rollout commencing in 2022.