PRESS INFORMATION



 
 


 

Trading Update for the six months ended 30 June 2002

Luxembourg July 19 2002 - RTL Group is making the following trading update in advance of its interim results announcement in September, for the six months ended 30 June 2002.

Didier Bellens, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group, commented:

“In what has remained a tough operating environment we have several success stories to report, namely Channel 5, Radio France and FremantleMedia. Channel 5 has grown its audience share by 10 per cent and its share of the advertising market by 14 per cent since the beginning of the year. Our French radio business has extended its market leadership over commercial rivals and out performed in terms of advertising market growth.  Finally, the performance of our production business, FremantleMedia, has continued to improve, helped by the success of “Pop Idol” in both the UK and, I am pleased to report, in the US as well. 

Despite difficult trading conditions over the half-year we continue to perform well and attract significant audience shares in our main markets.  In Germany, RTL Group is now the clear number one family of television channels and in France we have consolidated our position as number two television broadcaster.

We have remained tightly focused on improving the operating performance of the business by reducing costs and selling or closing down non-core or under performing assets.   Because of these measures to improve operating efficiency RTL Group will be well positioned to benefit when the rebound in advertising markets comes.  RTL Group is now operationally stronger than ever before, is exploiting more and more synergies and has a lean, cost conscious structure.  In addition, we believe a return to more reasonable pricing levels for sports and feature film rights will bring a reduction in programming costs.

As we stated in March, at our full year results announcement, advertising market visibility is extremely low. While it appears that there are some first, tentative, positive signs in the UK and Netherlands, Germany is weak, and France flat. Despite these continuing difficult markets we believe we are on line to meet market expectations for the full year.”


Television

 

 Audience market share
14-49 (%)

 Advertising market share
(%)

 

 H1 2002

 H1 2001

 H1 2002

 H1 2001

 Germany (1)  RTL

 17.3

 18.1

 28.4

 29.3

 RTL II

 5.7

 5.7

 5.3

 6.6

 Super RTL
(3-13)

 18.2

 21.0

 2.0

 2.0

 Vox

 4.4

 4.2

 4.8

 4.0

 

 Audience market share
15-34 (%)

 Advertising market share
(%)

 France (2)  M6

 21.8

 22.8

 23.2

 23.1

 

 Audience market share
4+ (%)

 Advertising market share
(%)

 UK (3)  Channel 5

 6.4

 5.6

 7.3

 6.2

 

 Audience market share
Shoppers 20-49
(18:00-24:00 hrs) (%)

 Advertising market share
(%)

 Netherlands (4)  RTL4

 18.1

 16.4

 24.0

 23.2

 RTL5

 4.2

 5.0

 3.3

 4.8

 Yorin

 6.4

 8.4

 11.1

 12.8

 

 Audience market share
Shoppers 18-44
(17:00-23:00 hrs) (%)

 Advertising market share
(%)

 Belgium (5)  RTL TVI

 21.7

 25.6

 51.2

 56.2

 

 Club RTL

 8.6

 7.0

 13.0

 11.2

Following a relatively robust performance in the first half of 2001, the German television market has seen a cumulative fall in gross advertising spend of around 7 percent in the first half of 2002. RTL Group’s channels have however maintained their strong market position with the continued ratings success of well-known and highly popular formats despite specific one-off events on the public channels such as the Winter Olympics and the World Cup.

In France, the successful investment in programming, including Loft Story 2, has helped maintain the audience share for M6 at close to last years impressive levels.  The net advertising market remains weak but the successful diversification strategy followed by M6 has helped to significantly reduce the impact of this weakness on its results. 

In the UK, Channel 5 has grown its advertising market share to 7.3 per cent in a market that is down by around 1 per cent year-on-year.  In addition, audience share has continued to grow, and is now at 6.4 per cent, up 10 per cent since the beginning of the year.  Channel 5 has continued to invest in programming, in line with our long-term aim of increasing audience share.

________________

(1) Source: GfK, Nielsen S+P
(2) Source: Mediamétrie, SECODIP
(3) Source: BARB
(4) Source: Infomart, BBC
(5) Source: Audimetrie CIM South; Videotrack

In the Netherlands, our main channel, RTL 4, is growing both in terms of audience and advertising market share, an encouraging performance in what is a competitive market. Overall, however, RTL Group’s channels have lost audience share and advertising market share. This partly reflects the impact of one-off events such as the Royal Wedding, the Winter Olympics and the World Cup.  RTL management in the Netherlands is continuing to take action to turn Yorin’s performance around.  

The Belgian market has seen the emergence of a new competitor,AB3, which distorts the year on year comparison for our main channel, RTL TVI.  Overall, we are pleased with the performance of the channel and believe the new management team will revitalize the station in the near future.

Radio

In French Radio, the ratings show that RTL in France has successfully stemmed its audience decline and is now widening the gap between it and its nearest commercial competitors. The last audience ratings confirm RTL Radio’s number one position, with an audience share at 13.0 per cent.  Fun Radio and RTL 2’s audience shares remained stable at 4.5 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively.

Content

RTL Group’s worldwide production business continues to benefit from investment in new format development and the restructuring of the North American operations undertaken last year. The international scale of the FremantleMedia network has helped us to roll out “Pop Idol” to countries as diverse as the US, South Africa and Poland. The show will also be broadcast later this year on RTL stations in Germany and Holland.  Our European serial dramas are as popular as ever and complement our reality and game show output.  The restructuring in 2001 removed under-performing elements and accordingly the 2002 results will show significant improvement over those reported last year.

New Media

In New Media, we continue to be one of the leading players in Europe with both RTL World (RTL.de) and M6 Web (m6.fr) commanding leading spots in their markets as general entertainment sites.  We are reviewing our cost base and have started a restructuring programme at our largest operation, RTL NewMedia.

The Company will announce its interim results in September 2002 in London


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RTL Group      
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Christian Seidenabel
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