Ad market upturn keeps RTL stable

Advertising growth in some markets helped RTL Group to offset a flat market in Germany and continued difficulties with M6 in France and maintain stable revenues and EBITA for the first quarter.

RTL said that all European TV advertising markets except Germany and France showed signs of improvement.

Production arm FremantleMedia turned in EBITA of €9 million for the quarter, down from €10 million last year. RTL highlighted FremantleMedia’s acquisition of a 75% stake in US-based Jersey Shore producer 495 Productions in March, which it said would enable the unit to expand its share of the US cable networks market.

RTL group revenues remained broadly stable at €1.313 billion (US$1.83 billion), compared with €1.317 billion for the same period last year. EBITA was €194 million, down from €207 million, pushed down by M6 and RTL Radio in France. M6 saw its EBITA fall from €60 million for Q1 2013 to €43 million for the three months to March 2014.

Today sees the launch of Geo Television, RTL’s new channel for the German market based on the format of a popular magazine of the same name. The channel will be carried on Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain platform.

The quarter also saw the February launch of RTL Kockica, a new kids channel for Croatia.

RTL said its digital business had continued to grow strongly, with online video views for catch-up TV as well as BroadbandTV on Youtube growing by 228% year-on-year to 7.2 billion. This figure included 30% growth for views to its YouTube channels, reaching 1.62 billion.

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