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Bertelsmann Announces 2013 Fiscal Year Results, Part IV

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As for the other operating companies, although advertising markets across Europe were mostly in decline, RTL Group was able to significantly increase its profitability in 2013. Revenues reached €5,900,000,000 after €6,000,000,000 in 2012, representing a 1.9% decrease.

The Bertelsmann Group noted, “This revenue development reflects robust core businesses despite negative currency effects and lower revenues for the production arm Fremantle Media. In operating EBIT, another record result by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and the strong performance of the Dutch TV channels more than offset the impact of the negative development of advertising markets in many parts of Europe. The German TV advertising market singularly showed slight growth.” 

Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland increased both its revenues and earnings… The French Groupe M6 achieved lower revenues, partly because of the declining advertising market. Operating EBIT declined due to start-up losses for the new digital channel 6ter. Audience shares remained largely stable despite the market entry of new competitors. RTL Nederland grew its revenues and operating EBIT notwithstanding a shrinking advertising market, and scored higher viewer ratings.

The production arm Fremantle Media registered continued global interest in its major talent shows and invested in the development of new formats. Revenues fell mainly due to currency effects and because of the cancellation of formats in individual territories. Operating EBIT was slightly down year on year. In November, Fremantle Media acquired the Danish production company Miso Film, which specializes in series and TV movies.

In the growth market of Asia, RTL Group partnered with CBS Studios International to initiate the establishment of two new channels. The first channel, RTL CBS Entertainment HD, made its debut in 2013 in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. The launch of the second channel will follow in the spring of 2014. In Croatia, RTL Hrvatska established a new children’s channel, which went on air in January 2014 and has scored excellent ratings from the start.

RTL Group’s digital business also continued to be greatly expanded. The Group acquired a majority stake in BroadbandTV, one of the largest multichannel networks on YouTube, and also invested in the leading online video network for fashion and beauty StyleHaul, the German YouTube network Divimove, and the Dutch video-on-demand provider Videoload. The Group’s various online platforms and mobile applications recorded high growth rates.

RTL Group has been additionally listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since the end of April 2013. Bertelsmann reduced its holdings and has held 75.1% of the shares in the company.

At Gruner + Jahr, the financial year was shaped by a personnel, organizational and strategic realignment to transform the existent printing and publishing company into a “house of content” with print and digital offerings for specific target groups. On the commercial side, Gruner + Jahr reported a significant fall in revenues and operating result during 2013 against a backdrop of declining ad sales revenues, the partial discontinuation of its business media along with other disposals, increased investment in the digital business and a decline in the international business. Revenues reached €2,100,000,000 in 2013 after €2,200,000,000 in 2012 (-6.9%).

Operating EBIT was down by 13.1% to €146,000,000 (down from €168,000,000 in 2012). Return on sales decreased to 7.1% (down from 7.6% in 2012). Operating EBITDA was €193,000,000 (down from €213,000,000 in 2012), resulting in an EBITDA margin of 9.3% (down from 9.6% in 2012). At year-end, Gruner + Jahr employed 10,819 people (a decline from the 11,585 people it employed on December 31, 2012). Since April 2013, Gruner + Jahr has been jointly managed by Julia Jäkel (C.E.O.), Stephan Schäfer, and Oliver Radtke.

The Bertelsmann Group noted, “G+J Germany improved its results year on year. Sales revenues dipped in line with market conditions but adjusted for portfolio changes the advertising business developed positively, bucking the market trend. In Germany the business structures were fundamentally changed. With its realignment along eight Communities of Interest, G+J is resolutely focusing on the interests of its readers, users and customers. For instance, its strong position in the Living, Food and Family communities was expanded with investments in digital offers such as the Home and Furniture community Roomido, the online store for high-end foods Delinero and the online store for baby and children’s clothing Tausendkind. “Chefkoch” and “Flow” enhanced the print portfolio of the Food and Women communities with two innovative new titles. G+J Media Sales added market share in the ad sales market, and both G+J’s digital marketer EMS and the performance marketer Ligatus recorded continued dynamic growth.”

Prisma Media’s magazine business in France declined, which Bertelsmann attributed to “difficult market conditions.” The parent company had good news, though. “The expansion of the digital business was successfully advanced, including through targeted acquisitions.” For instance, 2013 saw Prisma Media’s acquisition of the two digital ad sales houses Mob Value and P Comme Performance.

Verlagsgruppe News faced difficulties in much of Central Europe and all of Southern Europe. It The Bertelsmann Group stated Verlagsgruppe News “declined in Austria, underperforming the market mainly in the ad sales business. In 2013, its activities in Southern Europe continued to be affected by difficult macroeconomic conditions. The company sold off its operations in Poland and parts of the operations in Southeastern Europe.”

Gruner + Jahr’s activities in China reported declines due to a first-time reduction in the Chinese ad sales market. In the United States, the offset printing company Brown Printing saw a fall in revenues and earnings due to lower capacity utilization. The business of Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus was mostly stable.

The parent company did have gratifying news in terms writers in its employ achieving glory. “During the reporting period, G+J journalists and authors won a variety of prestigious awards for their work; in Germany alone, they won more than any other publisher.”

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