In its first-quarter financials operating profit at FremantleMedia fell by €2M (US$2.4M) from last year, dropping from €15M to €13M on steady revenues of €271M, while operating profit at the group fell from €264M to €259M. The company said that it expects FremantleMedia to have a similar performance in the second quarter of the year but noted that revenue growth was expected to “accelerate in the second half of the year on the back of the new drama deliveries”.
This comes despite the launch of American Idol on ABC in March and its subsequent renewal for a second season as well as the premiere of dating format Hear Me, Love Me, See Me on TLC. German drama Charité, which is produced by UFA Fiction and set in 1880s Berlin, was picked up by Netflix in a number of markets around the world including the U.S., while Euston Films’ pre-apocalyptic drama Hard Sun was sold into more than 100 territories. It also pointed to Beecham House, the Gurinder Chadha-produced drama that was picked up by ITV.
Elsewhere, RTL CEO Bert Habets said that it was planning to scale up its digital businesses following the launch of video-on-demand platforms in Hungary, Croatia and Belgium, based on M6’s 6Play service. “We will increase investments in our video-on-demand services with a clear focus on local, exclusive content, and gradually adopt a hybrid model – combining a free, advertising-financed service with a premium pay product,” he said.
“During the first quarter of 2018, we generated higher TV advertising revenue in our key markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands. However, this good revenue growth was offset by negative exchange rate effects. Our profitability remains at a high level, and with the strong operating performance of our major business units, we are in a very good position to write the next chapter in RTL Group’s success story,” he added.