Economic crisis pushes RTL out of Greece

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 08-01-2012

European audiovisual TV group RTL has announced its withdrawal from Greece and the sale of 70% of its majority stakes into Alpha Media Group. They will be taken over by local minority shareholder Dimitris Contominas who already owns 30% of this company, whose assets include national channel Alpha TV.
In a statement, RTL Group’s CEO Gerhard Zeiler explained this decision is a consequence of the economic and financial crisis in Greece.
RTL had acquired majority stakes in Alpha Media in December 2008 but since then the Greek advertising market has been crushed and decreased by 50%. Despite huge cuts in costs from 2008 to 2011, subsidiary Alpha TV significantly increased the audience share on its main target audience. The number of viewers aged 15-44 rose from 12.5% in 2008 to 14.6% in 2011.
The RTL-Contominas deal is subject to the approval of the Greek Competition Authority but is expected to close in Q1 this year. RTL, however, adds it will remain active in Greece with its content production and sales arm FremantleMedia.
Dominated by Star TV, Mega, Antenna TV and Alpha TV, Greece’s national TV m