RTL Sees Streaming Base Rise By Almost Half


By Stuart Thomson

RTL Group saw its streaming subscriber base jump by almost half in the course of 2022. The base for the broadcaster’s streamers in Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary increased by 44.3 per cent to 5.5 million over the course of the year.

The subscriber growth was part of RTL’s strong year-end results story. The group saw its revenue rise by 8.8 per cent to reach a record €7.2 billion(US$15.67billion), including 1.6 per cent of organic growth. Streaming revenue was up – albeit at a shallower curve than subscriber growth – by 19.7 per cent.

Group profit halved however, from €1.474 billion for the prior year down to €766 million. RTL said the drop was driven by prior-year gains on disposals, notably that of ad tech outfit SpotX.

Adjusted EBITDA was down 6 per cent to €1.1 billion.

Growth in group revenue was driven by the performance of Fremantle, RTL Deutschland (from the acquisitions of Gruner + Jahr in 2022 and Super RTL in 2021) and RTL Nederland.

Streaming revenue from German streamer RTL+ and Dutch offering Videoland grew by 19.7 per cent to €267 million.

The number of paying subscribers for the German streaming service RTL+ increased by 48.1 per cent to 4.016 million, compared to 2.712 million at the end of December 2021. The strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom to bundle RTL+ Premium in Magenta TV, reality TV formats, football matches of the UEFA Europa League and the growing number of original formats such as Sisi, Der König von Palma and the Bushido documentary contributed to this growth, according to RTL. The company counted 62 new originals available in 2022, down slightly from 67 for the prior year.

RTL Deutschland is also expanding its streaming business beyond video. It launched its RTL+ Musik app last year, providing access to more than 90 million songs and more than 100 radio streams. The company entered into an exclusive deal with Deezer and added podcasts to the app in November, and ebooks in December.

Paying subscriber numbers for Dutch streaming service Videoland grew 11.8 per cent to 1.221 million, compared to 1.092 million at the end of December 2021, pushed up by exclusive content such as the original series Sleepers and Mocro Maffia, a documentary about the Dutch singer André Hazes, the fifth season of the US series The Handmaid’s Tale and the Dutch kickboxing live events of the Glory series.

Hungarian streamer RTL+, including the RTL+ Active offering, which was launched only in November last year, counted 251,000 subs at the end of December, having integrated former services RTL Most and RTL Most+. RTL+ Hungary operates a direct-to-consumer subscription service, a B2B2C version and an ad-funded registration-based model.

RTL said it was investing in its production arm Fremantle in drama and film, entertainment and documentaries to meet the goal of €3 billion in revenue by 2025.

RTL said it expected its revenue this year to hit between €7.3 and €7.4 billion, and adjusted EBITA to be between €1 billion and €1.05 billion, with streaming startup losses to come down to under €200 million from €233 million.

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