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RTL Group adjusts financial forecast downwards again, amid weak ad markets

RTL Group has once more revised its financial targets due to the lack of recovery in the advertising markets.

Thomas Rabe

The television group announced today that September had been strong. “Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, however, the European advertising markets are proving weaker than expected, so that we have had to adjust our outlook despite countermeasures,” said group CEO Thomas Rabe.

RTL now expects revenues of €6.9bn (US$7.38bn), after the target had already been trimmed to €7bn in the summer. Last year, the RTL Group generated revenues of €7.2bn.

Earnings adjusted for special effects, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITA) are expected to fall to €900m this year, compared with €1.08bn in the previous year. In the third quarter, turnover fell by around a 10th to just under €1.6bn.

The television production business in particular suffered as a result of subdued demand and compared to a strong prior-year figure.

Advertising revenues were also down and a turnaround is not in sight: in Germany in particular, the TV advertising business is likely to be down on the previous year in the second half of the year.

The group’s driving force is the German branch of RTL+: as at the end of September, it alone had 4.665 million paying subscribers, almost one million more than in the previous year (3.675 million).

The group plans to increase its annual content spend on its streaming services to around €600m by 2026 with the aim of increasing the number of paying subscribers for RTL+ and Videoland to 10 million, and increasing streaming revenue to €1bn to reach profitability by 2026.


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