30.11.2018, Luxembourg, RTL Group
“We have all the assets we need to succeed, we are in control of our destiny. Now it’s our job to grow our company organically – taking all the ‘Lego’ bricks and building something new, something powerful, beautiful and relevant!” RTL Group CEO Bert Habets during opening ‘State of the Union’ presentation, setting the key theme of the Management Summit – transformation.
From left to right : Elmar Heggen and Bert Habets
Ninety top executives from across RTL Group have gathered in Luxembourg on 29 and 30 November 2018 to discuss the future of the Group.
CEO Bert Habets and CFO Elmar Heggen opened the RTL Group Management Summit 2018 by reviewing the Group’s development since the last management meeting 2014 – in terms of financial performance and achievements in the various business units. The key takeaway: after a series of important digital acquisitions, the strategic focus of RTL Group will now be on organic growth. This organic growth will be driven by expansion in video on demand and Fremantle’s pipeline of scripted drama productions.
“Since our last meeting in 2014, RTL Group has become more creative, more digital and more diverse than ever before, while our key strengths have not changed: our local excellence, being close to our audience, and maintaining high profitability.”
Before embarking on a tour across the Group to highlight the key achievements of each of the different business units, Elmar gave an overview of the Group’s healthy financial situation: “On Group level, organic revenue growth rates have significantly improved, and it is expected to further grow next year and the year ahead.”
The tour of the business units kicked off with Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, “our power and profit engine,” as Bert described it. “With early focus on local and exclusive content, its profit growth was not based on cost savings – on the opposite, programming investments have increased steadily since 2011.” Turning to France, they highlighted the successful integration of the French RTL radio family into Groupe M6, a project with allowed the French business unit to become a true media powerhouse, and the “M-sixth sense to identify diversification business opportunities.”
Coming to Bert’s hometurf, The Netherlands, with its challenging media ecosystem and the building up of Videoland, the Group’s first paid video on demand streaming service: “It took us two years of hard work and dedication and we are now a strong and competitive number two in the market. But we want more, much more in all our core broadcasting markets,” highlighting the Group’s ambition to invest in the video on demand field in the markets where Group’s broadcasters are operating.
One of the most important landmarks on this whistle-stop tour of business units is of course, Fremantle, our home of creativity. RTL Group’s creative success was illustrated with Fremantle’s growing slate of high-end drama productions such as American Gods and My Brilliant Friend. Bert on the important role scripted content will play, “In 2018, scripted drama will account for approximately 9 per cent of Fremantle’s total revenue — and this share expected to reach 25 per cent within the next three years.”
With RTL Group’s digital businesses being the main growth driver over the past years, Bert explained the strategic rationale of the Group’s various investments in the multi-platform networks (MPNs) ecosystem. “Consumption of short-form video continues to grow rapidly, as does advertising and branded content revenues in the social media ecosystem. Our MPNs are global businesses, complementary to our local families of channels. We need to become experts in a lower cost production environment, in which talent is very closely tied to the creation of intellectual property (IP).” At the same time, with the investment in ad tech namely with SpotX “we are building a global advertising platform for premium publishers at scale,” he continued. “Closer collaboration is key and bit by bit we are sharing our ad-tech know-how within our Group. This is an important part of our strategy to remain in control of monetisation.”
“We have all the assets we need to succeed, we are in control of our destiny. Now it’s our job to grow our company organically – taking all the ‘Lego’ bricks and build something new, something powerful, beautiful and relevant! Let’s get started!”