RTL not worried by slowdown in results

Following the presentation of the first half-year results of RTL, Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of RTL Group, has showed continued belief in the company. “The results for the first half of 2008 show how reliable RTL Group’s business model is. Our operating profit again exceeded €500 million – despite a slowdown in several advertising markets, adverse currency effects and the special programme investment by Groupe M6 for the European football championship. Our half-year net result even reached a new record high.”

He continued: “RTL Group continues to evolve its strategy. We’re stepping up our presence on all digital platforms to move with our audience. Our catch-up TV services in Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands already register rapid viewer uptake. In Germany and France, we strengthened our internet portfolio with acquisitions. RTL Group will continue to invest in the fast-growing content and online advertising sectors, which complement our core business. We expect that the advertising market conditions will continue to be mixed across Europe, combined with low visibility. However, given the strength of our business, we remain confident for the outcome of the full year.“

The highlights from the figures: -reported EBITA slightly down to €502 million, mainly due to adverse currency effects and a special programme investment for the Euro 2008 at Groupe M6; reported Group revenue down 0.9% to €2,864 million, due to the strong euro against US dollar and British pound; at constant exchange rates, revenue was up 1.6%; reported EBITA margin of 17.5 %; net profit attributable to RTL Group shareholders of €338 million, up 16.6%; net cash from operating activities of EUR 489 million resulting in an operating cash conversion of 95%; adjusted for one-off payments, normalised cash conversion rate of 111%.

During the past few months, the RTL Group also strengthened its presence on various digital platforms. Digital channels in Germany report positive business development, reaching over 2.2 million subscribers; RTL Crime and Passion among top three pay channels. Comprehensive catch-up TV services were launched in Germany (RTLnow.de), France (M6replay.fr), The Netherlands (RTLgemist.nl) and in the UK (Demand.Five.tv).

Investments to strengthen RTL Group’s internet portfolio: Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland acquired a 49% stake in the fast growing social network Wer-kennt-wen.de and the Groupe M6 acquired a 100% t stake in the Cyréalis group, making M6 Web one of the leading internet platforms in France. In The Netherlands, the exclusive to mobile TV channel RTL 24 was launched.