CLT-UFA announces strong improvement in 1998 results / Continued growth in the Free-TV market
CLT-UFA Luxemburg, February 11 1999
CLT-UFA, the leading European broadcasting group, reported a sharp increase in the profitability of its core businesses in 1998. Compared to 1997, the net profitability of these businesses increased by about 90%.
RTL Television in Germany confirmed its leadership of its target group (14-49 years) for the sixth consecutive year and increased profit by more than 40%. In addition, RTL 2 reached breakeven, mainly due to better program supply after its program deal with RTL Television in December 1997.
At the same time CLT-UFA’s other free-TV channels were strengthening their respective positions. M6 became France’s second-ranked broadcaster in terms of advertising revenues and increased its net profit by 29%.
In the Netherlands, CLT-UFA made a strategic move by acquiring the stakes held by VNU and Philips in the Holland Media Groep, which raised its total interest from 39.5% to 65%. HMG tripled its net profit compared to 1997.
RTL Radio in France again confirmed its leadership and was able to increase both revenues and profit in 1998. In addition, RTL 2 Radio was profitable for the first time due to its increasing success with listeners.
In 1998, CLT-UFA reduced the net losses of its start-up operations in radio and free TV by 40%.
Channel 5 is performing in line with projections, which should lead to break-even at year-end 2001. The channel has increased its coverage by 2.1 million households and raised its audience share to 4.8%.
At year-end 1998, RTL Klub had reached second place on the Hungarian market, with an audience share of 32% in its target group (18-49 years).
The development of Premiere was delayed by the EU Commission’s veto of the planned joint venture with DF1. The cost of developing the digital platform resulted in high losses. Despite difficult market conditions, Premiere is Germany’s leading pay TV channel by far, with 1.7 million subscribers.
Finally, in 1998, CLT-UFA focused its portfolio by selling stakes in Talk Radio in the UK, TPS in France and 65% of RTL 9 in Luxembourg. By completing the acquisition of the IP sales companies from Havas, CLT-UFA added an important segment to the group’s value chain. As a result, its broadcasting subsidiaries now have full and direct control of their respective sales operations.
Due to the combined impact of increased profitability of its core businesses, the reduction in net losses of its start-up operations in radio and free TV and exceptional items, CLT-UFA estimates a net loss for 1998 of -20 million, or 51 million better than the 1997 result of -71 million.
CLT-UFA holds shares in 40 radio and TV stations throughout Europe, as well as several production and rights trading businesses, most of them market leaders (e.g., RTL in France, RTL Television in Germany, RTL TVI in Belgium and HMG in the Netherlands).
Figures above are in EURO.