Q1/2023: RTL Group’s streaming services continue to grow strongly; TV advertising markets remain challenging

Luxembourg, 4 May 2023 – RTL Group today published the following quarterly statement for the first three months of 2023 (Q1/2023).

CEO’s quote

Thomas Rabe, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group, says:

”RTL Group made good progress on its strategic and operational agenda in the first quarter of 2023. We strengthened our core business with audience share gains in our largest markets, Germany and France, and renewed the exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights for the Uefa Europa and Conference League in Germany. We are pleased with the strong growth of our streaming businesses, adding more than 400,000 paying subscribers in the first quarter alone. Our global content business Fremantle has continued its creative success story across drama and film, entertainment and documentaries, with numerous awards and new partnerships with high-profile creatives such as Amy Berg and Edward Berger.

In line with our expectations, TV advertising markets were very challenging in the first quarter. As noted in March, our outlook is based on a rebound of the TV advertising markets in the second half of the year, in particular in Germany. On this basis, we confirm our outlook for the full year 2023.”


Group revenue was down 9.0 per cent to €1,422 million (Q1/2022: €1,562 million), mainly due to significantly lower TV advertising revenue and the disposals of RTL Belgium (31 March 2022) and RTL Croatia (1 June 2022), which were still fully consolidated in Q1/2022. Group revenue was down 7.7 per cent organically1.

The revenue of RTL Group’s content business, Fremantle, was down 5.6 per cent to €435 million (Q1/2022: €461 million), mainly due to timing effects of production deliveries.

Streaming revenue2 from RTL+ and Videoland was up 15.6 per cent to €74 million (Q1/2022: €64 million), thanks to the rapidly growing number of RTL+ subscribers in Germany.

RTL Group’s total advertising revenue was €700 million (Q1/2022: €829 million), of which €545 million represented TV advertising revenue (Q1/2022: €653 million), €76 million digital advertising revenue (Q1/2022: €83 million) and €39 million radio advertising revenue (Q1/2022: €46 million). 

RTL Group’s distribution revenue3 was slightly down by 1.8 per cent to €107 million (Q1/2022: €109 million) due to scope effects.

Net cash

As of 31 March 2023, RTL Group held net cash of €49 million4 (31 December 2022: net cash of €180 million). On 2 May 2023, RTL Group paid out the dividend for 2022 (€4.00 per share) amounting to €619 million.

TV markets

Net TV advertising market growth rates and RTL Group audience shares in main target groups

RTL Group estimates that in Q1/2023 net TV advertising markets were significantly down in Germany and France and slightly down in the Netherlands year on year. RTL Group does not yet see a recovery of the TV advertising markets in Q2/2023. A summary of RTL Group’s key markets is shown below, including estimates of net TV advertising market growth rates and the audience shares in the main target audience group.



RTL Group estimate Q1/2023
net TV advertising market
growth rate (in per cent)

RTL Group main target group audience share Q1/2023
(in per cent)

RTL Group main target group audience share Q1/2022
(in per cent)


-17.0 to -18.0 5

27.6 6

26.9 6


-8.0 to -9.0 7

22.6 8

22.3 8


-1.4 5

33.5 9

34.3 9

Operational highlights

As of 31 March 2023, RTL Group registered 5.909 million paying subscribers for its streaming services RTL+ in Germany and Hungary, and Videoland in the Netherlands, an increase of 37.1 per cent year on year (end of March 2022: 4.309 million).

In the first quarter of 2023, RTL Group’s families of TV channels in Germany and France gained audience shares. In Germany, RTL Deutschland’s combined audience share in the main commercial target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 increased to 27.6 per cent (Q1/2022: 26.9 per cent), extending the lead over its main commercial competitor ProSiebenSat1 to 6.4 percentage points (Q1/2022: lead of 4.7 percentage points). This was primarily driven by the main channel RTL which gained one percentage point and scored an average audience share of 10.5 per cent in the target group (Q1/2022: 9.5 per cent). In France, Groupe M6’s combined audience share in the main commercial target group was slightly up to 22.6 per cent (Q1/2022: 22.3 per cent). RTL Nederland’s combined primetime audience share in the main commercial target group decreased by 0.8 percentage points, but remained on a high level, at 33.5 per cent (Q1/2022: 34.3 per cent) – this was 13.0 percentage points ahead of the main commercial competitor, Talpa Network (Q1/2022: lead of 14.6 percentage points).

In February 2023, RTL Deutschland announced a reorganisation of its publishing business to focus on its core brands such as Stern, Geo, Capital, Brigitte, Gala, Schöner Wohnen, Eltern and Chefkoch, which account for around 70 per cent of the unit’s publishing revenue. Other brands will be sold or discontinued. RTL Deutschland will invest a total of €80 million in its publishing business by 2025, €30 million thereof for the expansion of its paid offer Stern+. The reorganisation is progressing with the social plan signed at the end of March 2023 and portfolio adjustments underway.

In March 2023, RTL Deutschland announced the renewal of the exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights for the Uefa Europa League and Uefa Europa Conference League. For the seasons 2024/25 to 2026/27 the matches will be shown on its linear channels RTL and Nitro as well as its streaming service RTL+.

On 22 February 2023, French media authority Arcom announced it had selected M6 as part of the bidding process for the allocation of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) channel 6. On 27 April 2023, the media authority announced that Groupe M6 and Arcom signed an agreement defining the obligations and commitments of the company’s flagship channel, M6. The final authorisation for the next ten years will come into effect on 6 May 2023.

RTL Group’s global content business Fremantle had a successful start to 2023, across all three pillars of entertainment, drama and film, and documentaries. Within its entertainment business, Fremantle hit several firsts with a debut series of Japan’s Got Talent and Saudi Idol wowing audiences; the launch of a German version of Too Hot to Handle for Netflix and a US version of the iconic reality format Farmer Wants a Wife for Fox. Fremantle also announced the acquisition of the global rights to the hit UK series The Piano from Love Productions. Within drama and film, Fremantle launched Wreck on Hulu and the third season of Exit on NRK in Norway. The Wildside series The Good Mothers launched on Disney+ after winning the inaugural Series Award at the 2023 Berlinale. In documentaries, Fremantle’s Original Productions launched Waco: American Apocalypse on Netflix.

In February 2023, Fremantle secured a two-year partnership with Nine Hours, the new label from Edward Berger, the director of the Oscar-winning film All Quiet on the Western Front. The agreement will provide Fremantle with first-look access to Nine Hours’ television projects and second-look access to new film projects.

Fremantle has continued to expand its documentary business. In March 2023:


The geopolitical and macroeconomic environment remains volatile and the impact on RTL Group’s businesses continues to be hard to predict.

On this basis and subject to a rebound of the TV advertising markets in the second half of 2023, in particular in Germany:

Outlook for the full year 2023






€7.3bn to €7.4bn

Adjusted EBITA


€1.0bn to €1.05bn

Streaming start-up losses


Just below €0.2bn

Adjusted EBITA before
streaming start-up losses


€1.2bn to €1.25bn

Strategic targets for RTL Group’s streaming services11




Paying subscribers



Streaming revenue



Content spend per annum



Profitability is expected by 202612.

Fremantle: revenue target

Fremantle targets full-year revenue of €3 billion by 2025.

To reach this goal and keep up with the increasing demand for content, RTL Group will invest significantly in Fremantle – both organically and via acquisitions – in all territories across drama and film, entertainment and factual shows and documentaries.

Figures presented in this quarterly statement are not audited.

1 Adjusted for portfolio changes and at constant exchange rates. Further details can be found in the section Key performance indicators on page 58 of RTL Group’s Annual Report 2022

2 Streaming revenue includes SVOD, TVOD, in-stream and distribution revenue from RTL+ in Germany, RTL+ in Hungary (including RTL+/RTL+ Active/RTL+ Light) and Videoland/RTL XL in the Netherlands

3 Revenue generated across all distribution platforms (cable, satellite, internet TV) including subscription and re-transmission fees

4 Net cash/(debt) excludes current and non-current lease liabilities. Including these, net cash as of 31 March 2023 was €-222 million (31 December 2022: net cash of €-205 million). See Key performance indicators on page 61 of RTL Group’s Annual Report 2022

5 Industry and RTL Group estimates

6 Source: GfK, Target group: 14 to 59

7 Source: Groupe M6 estimate

8 Source: Médiamétrie. Target group: women under 50 responsible for purchases (free-to-air channels: M6, W9, 6ter and Gulli)

9 Source: SKO. Target group: 25 to 54, 18h-24h

10 The previous services, RTL Most and RTL Most+, were integrated into RTL+ under the packages RTL+ Light and RTL+ Active. Therefore, RTL+ has three models: a direct-to-consumer subscription model without advertising, a TV subscription model (for example via an IPTV subscription), and a registration-based advertising-funded model.

11 RTL+ in Germany and Hungary and Videoland in the Netherlands

12 Total of Adjusted EBITA from RTL+, Videoland/RTL XL, Salto and Bedrock as consolidated on RTL Group level. The Adjusted EBITA of RTL+ in Germany and Hungary and Videoland/RTL XL in the Netherlands includes synergies with TV channels at business unit level. For the definition of Adjusted EBITA please see Key performance indicators on pages 58 to 59 of RTL Group’s Annual Report 2022