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.”
The RTL Group’s overall revenue fell by 9.5% to €6.02 billion ($7.18 billion) from 2019’s €6.65 billion ($7.93 billion), while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization declined 14.2% to €853 million ($1.01 billion) from €1.16 billion ($1.38 billion).
The drop was mainly due to a fall in TV advertising revenues and lower content production because of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, TV advertising revenue across the group was up 0.8% year-on-year in the second half of 2020 and up 2.8% in the fourth quarter of the year.
A captive market in lockdown saw paying subscribers for RTL Group’s streaming services in Germany (TV Now) and the Netherlands (Videoland) up 52% to 2.19 million and streaming revenue from the two outfits grew 20.6% to €170 million ($202 million) from 2019’s €141 million ($168.2 million).
The group is projecting 2021 revenue of €6.2 billion ($7.39 billion).
Fremantle’s revenues fell 14.3% from €1.79 billion ($2.13 billion) to €1.53 billion ($1.83 billion), while profits plunged 38.7% from €142 million ($169.3 million) to €87 million ($103.7 million).
“As 2020 came to a close, 90% of all Fremantle productions affected by the pandemic were either fully delivered or back in production,” said Jennifer Mullin, group CEO, Fremantle. “Throughout 2020 our global gameshows and continuing dramas in particular stood up extremely well to the challenges and finished the year in line with our 2019 performance.”
Mullin added: “Our global footprint allowed us to increase local scripted production to 15 territories and deliver 54 shows, which is ahead of the 2019 comparison. Despite a year like no other, we celebrated the successes of many new Fremantle shows and formats including ‘Too Hot To Handle’ for Netflix, and received global critical acclaim for our drama slate, including ‘The Salisbury Poisonings,’ ‘My Brilliant Friend’ and ‘The Investigation.’ ”