• RTL Group buys stake in streaming platform Bedrock
  • Company forecasts major growth in its German and Dutch streamers
  • RTL CEO said German television operations increased their combined audience share


RTL Group: Acquires stake in streaming platform Bedrock

RTL Group is pushing into streaming, taking a 50% stake in SVOD technology platform Bedrock as it forecasts major growth across its German and Dutch online streaming services.

Bedrock is the technology company that provides the platform for SVOD service 6Play in France, as well as the new French streaming service Salto, a cooperation between commercial networks TF1, France Télévisions and RTL-controlled M6.

Salto’s commercial launch is planned for later this year.

RTL chief executive Thomas Rabe outlined its mission, saying the company plans to “grow the number of paying subscribers for our streaming services TV Now in Germany and Videoland in the Netherlands to between five and seven million, to grow our streaming revenue to at least €500 million ($560 million) and to break even by 2025.”

The European TV giant boasted $7.4 billion, a record revenue in 2019, however, issued a warning the impact coronavirus could have of its financial forecasts for this year.

The company published its year-end figures today, highlighting a 37% year-on-year growth of paying subscribers for its SVOD platform TV Now in Germany and Dutch Videoland.

Combined, the two services have 1.44 million subscribers with both streaming revenues up 46.7% from its 2018 report to $151 million.

RTL said it will use the Bedrock tech platform for Videoland in the Netherlands, as well as the RTL services in Belgium, Hungary and Croatia. The platform will be open to third parties, and RTL is aiming to make the company a European leader in the streaming space.

According to a report from the Hollywood Reporter, the financial terms were not disclosed.

In its announcement, RTL said it saw strong performances in 2019 across both its digital operations, which posted 8.9% revenue growth to $1.2 billion and its production operations at in-house shingle Fremantle, which saw revenue jump 12.6% to $2 billion.

Alongside entertainment programmes such as Got Talent and X Factor, Fremantle has a growing drama business with high-end series including Amazon’s American Gods and HBO’s The New Pope.

Fremantle’s drama revenue in 2019 jumped 36.2% to $463 million.

While the firms streaming and digital operations are driving the company growth, RTL was keen to show it is not neglecting its core business of advertising-supported TV.

Rabe said its German television operations increased their combined audience share in their target demographic of 14 to 59-year-olds by 0.6% points to 28.1%, the first such increase since 2011.

Overall, some 44.2% of RTL Group’s revenue came from TV advertising in 2019, with 21.6% coming from content sales, 16.1% from digital activities and 5.5% from platform revenue. RTL earned 4.1% of its revenue from advertising on its European radio channels and 8.5 per cent from other sources.