Selected chapters from the RTL Group Directors’ Report can be found here in digital form.
The complete Annual Report 2020 can be found here as a PDF flip catalogue.
RTL Group analyses key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage its businesses, including revenue, organic growth/decline, Adjusted EBITA, Adjusted EBITA margin, RTL Group Value Added (RVA), net debt, operating cash conversion rate and audience share in main target groups. RTL Group’s key performance indicators are mostly determined on the basis of so-called alternative performance measures, which are not defined by IFRS. Management believes they are relevant for measuring the performance of the Group’s operations, financial position and cash flows, and for making decisions. These KPIs also provide additional information for users of the financial statements regarding the management of the Group on a consistent basis over time and regularity of reporting. These should not be considered in isolation but as complementary information for evaluating the Group’s business situation. RTL Group’s KPIs may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other groups due to differences in the way these measures are calculated.
In the 2019 Annual Report, RTL Group reported an additional measure “underlying revenue”. From 2020 onwards, underlying revenue is replaced by the measure organic revenue growth/decline. Underlying revenue was defined as reported revenue adjusted for scope changes and at constant exchange rates. The differences between reported revenue and underlying revenue are predominantly attributable to organic revenue growth/decline.
The organic growth is calculated by adjusting the reported revenue growth mainly for the impact of exchange rate effects as well as corporate acquisitions and disposals. It should be seen as a component of the reported revenue shown in the income statement. Its main objective is for the reader to isolate the impacts of portfolio changes and exchange rates on the reported revenue. When determining the exchange rate effects, the functional currency that is valid in the respective country is used. Potential other effects may include changes in methods and reporting.
EBIT, Adjusted EBITA and EBITDA are indicators of operating profitability. The key performance indicator with regards to operating profitability of for RTL Group and its business units is Adjusted EBITA. The analyst community continues to also use EBITDA as a KPI for the Group’s profitability. As a result, for these purposes the calculation of EBITDA for the Group is also disclosed.
RTL Group comments primarily on Adjusted EBITA as the KPI for measuring profitability.
Adjusted EBITA represents a recurring operating result and excludes significant special items. RTL Group management has established an “Adjusted EBITA” that neutralises the impacts of structural distortions for the sake of transparency to the readers. Driven by the accelerated industry trends explained in the sections “Market” and “Strategy” in this Directors’ report, RTL Group plans to increase its investments in business transformation including streaming, premium content, technology and data. At the same time, management is continuously assessing opportunities to reduce costs in its traditional broadcasting activities, i.e. to reallocate resources from its traditional businesses to its growing digital businesses, which may lead to restructuring expenses that are neutralised in the Adjusted EBITA.
Adjusted EBITA is determined as earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) as disclosed in the income statement excluding the following elements:
Significant special items exceed the cumulative threshold of €5 million, need to be approved by management, and primarily consist of restructuring expenses or reversal of restructuring provisions and other special factors or distortions. The adjustments for special items serve to determine a sustainable operating result that could be repeated under normal economic circumstances and is not affected by special factors or structural distortions. In 2020 the special items reflect the impact of a restructuring programme at Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland (€27.4 million) and onerous advertising sales contracts (€9.7 million) as well as reversal of the restructuring provision at Corporate Centre in Luxembourg (€2.6 million).
|Earnings before interest and taxes (“EBIT”)||903||1,161|
|Impairment of goodwill of subsidiaries||11||–|
|Impairment and reversals of investments accounted for using the equity method||62||50|
|Amortisation and impairment of fair value adjustments on acquisitions of subsidiaries||14||15|
|Re-measurement of earn-out arrangements||1||(1)|
|Gain/(loss) from sale of subsidiaries, other investments |
and re-measurement to fair value of pre-existing interest in acquiree
|Significant special items||34||17|
The Adjusted EBITA margin as a percentage of Adjusted EBITA of revenue is used as an additional criterion for assessing business performance.
EBITDA represents earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) excluding some elements of the income statement:
|Earnings before interest and taxes (“EBIT”)||903||1,161|
|Depreciation, amortisation and impairment||252||259|
|Impairment of goodwill of subsidiaries||11||–|
|Impairment and reversals of investments accounted for using the equity method||62||50|
|Re-measurement of earn-out arrangements||1||(1)|
|Gain/(loss) from sale of subsidiaries, other investments |
and re-measurement to fair value of pre-existing interest in acquiree
|1 The figures from the previous year have been adjusted (see note 1.30. to the Consolidated Financial Statements)|
The operating cash conversion rate (OCC) reflects the level of operating profits converted into cash available for investors after incorporation of the minimum investments required to sustain the current profitability of the business and before reimbursement of funded debts (interest included) and payment of income taxes. The operating cash conversion rate of RTL Group’s operations is subject to seasonality and investment cycles. RTL Group historically had – and expects in the future to have – a strong OCC due to a high focus on working capital and capital expenditure throughout the operations. OCC should be above 90 percent in the long-term average and/or it should normally exceed market benchmarks in a given year.
OCC means operating free cash flow divided by EBITA, operating free cash flow being net cash from operating activities adjusted by the following elements:
|Net cash from operating activities||933||1,055|
|Income tax paid||248||334|
|Programme and other rights||(60)||(87)|
|Other intangible and tangible assets||(118)||(107)|
|Proceeds from the sale of intangible and tangible assets||2||4|
|Operating free cash flow||1,005||1,199|
|Operating cash conversion rate||123 %||105 %|
|1 The figures from the previous year have been adjusted (see note 1.30. to the Consolidated Financial Statements)|
The net debt is the gross balance sheet financial debt adjusted for:
In order to assess RTL Group’s leverage, the net debt to EBITDA ratio is used. The ratio is calculated as net debt divided by EBITDA.
|Current loans and bank overdrafts||(124)||(157)|
|Cash and cash equivalents||436||377|
|Cash pooling accounts receivable with investments accounted for using the equity method |
and not consolidated investments
|Current deposit with shareholder||563||27|
|Net cash/(debt) to EBITDA ratio||n.a.||0.3|
|1 The figures from the previous year have been adjusted (see note 1.30. to the Consolidated Financial Statements)|
The net debt excludes current and non-current lease liabilities of €384 million (€432 million at 31 December 2019).
A performance indicator for assessing the profitability
from operations and return on invested capital is
RTL Group Value Added (RVA). RVA measures the
profit realised above and beyond the expected return
on invested capital. This form of value orientation is
reflected in strategic investment and portfolio planning
– including the management of Group operations
– and is the basis for senior management variable compensation.
The RVA is the difference between net operating profit after tax (NOPAT), defined as EBITA before special items adjusted for a uniform tax rate of 30 per cent (2019: 33 per cent), and cost of capital.
The NOPAT corresponds to the sum of EBITA of fully consolidated entities and share of result of investments accounted for using the equity method not already taxed, adjusted for a uniform tax rate of 30 per cent (2019: 33 per cent), and share of result of investments accounted for using the equity method already taxed.
The cost of capital is the product of the weighted average cost of capital (a uniform 8 per cent after tax) and the quarterly average invested capital (operating assets, right-of-use assets included less non-interest bearing operating liabilities, lease liabilities excluded).
|Deduction of shares of results of investments accounted for using the equity method and already taxed||–||(26)|
|Net basis after deduction of uniform tax rate||573||746|
|Share of results of investments accounted for using the equity method and already taxed||–||26|
|Invested capital at 31 March||4,621||4,405|
|Invested capital at 30 June||4,474||4,488|
|Invested capital at 30 September||4,548||4,779|
|Invested capital at the end of the year||4,425||4,630|
|Adjusted average invested capital||4,517||4,576|
|Cost of capital||361||366|
Operating cost base is calculated as the sum of “Consumption of current programme rights”, “Depreciation, amortisation, impairment and valuation allowance” and “Other operating expenses”
|Consumption of current programme rights||2,070||2,266|
|Depreciation, amortisation, impairment and valuation allowance||248||245|
|Other operating expense||2,950||3,112|
|Operating cost base||5,268||5,623|
Dividend payout ratio means the absolute dividend amount divided by the profit attributable to RTL Group shareholders.
The absolute dividend amount is based on the number of issued ordinary shares at 31 December multiplied with the dividend per share. The main adjustments on profit attributable refer to impairment losses on Atresmedia and Divimove in 2020.
|Profit attributable to RTL Group shareholders||492|
|Adjusted profit for the year attributable to RTL Group shareholders||563|
|Dividend in € per share||3.00|
|Dividend, absolute amount||464|
|Dividend payout ratio||83 %|
RTL Group estimates that the net TV advertising market decreased in 2020 in all markets where the Group is active.
A summary of RTL Group’s key markets is shown below, including estimates of net TV advertising market growth rates and the audience share of the main target audience group.
(in per cent)
in the main
(in per cent)
|RTL Group |
in the main
(in per cent)
|Germany||(9.0) to (9.5)1||27.52||28.12|
1 Industry and RTL Group estimates
2 Source: GfK. Target group: 14−59
3 Source: Groupe M6 estimate
4 Source: Médiamétrie. Target group: women under 50 responsible for purchases (free-to-air channels: M6, W9, 6ter and Gulli for 2019)
5 Source: SKO. Target group: 25−54, 18−24h. Restated for a different audience measurement method, now excluding the screen use coming from devices such as hard disk DVD and video recorders
6 Source: Audimétrie. Target group: shoppers 18−54, 17−23h
7 Source: AGB Hungary. Target group: 18−49, prime time (including cable channels) 20−23h
8 Source: AGB Nielsen Media Research. Target group: 18−49, prime time 20−23h
9 Source: Infoadex
10 Source: TNS Sofres. Commercial target group: 25−59
RTL Group’s total revenue was down 9.5 per cent to €6,017 million (2019: €6,651 million), mainly due to declining TV advertising markets across Europe in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Group revenue was down 6.8 per cent organically11. Foreign exchange rate effects had a negative impact of €31 million on revenue.
11 Adjusted for portfolio changes, the wind-down of StyleHaul in 2019 and at constant exchange rates
Streaming revenue – which includes SVOD, TVOD and in-stream revenue from TV Now and Videoland/ RTL XL – was up by 20.6 per cent, to €170 million (2019: €141 million).
RTL Group’s advertising revenue was €3,330 million (2019: €3,659 million), of which €2,636 million represented TV advertising revenue (2019: €2,941 million), €345 million represented digital advertising revenue (2019: €335 million) and €212 million represented radio advertising revenue (2019: €269 million).
RTL Group’s digital revenue was down by 1.7 per cent to €1,055 million (2019: €1,073 million), mainly due to the disposals of iGraal (March 2020) and BroadbandTV (October 2020) and the wind down of StyleHaul in the course of 2019. In addition, Fremantle’s digital revenue in 2019 was boosted by the launch of the second season of American Gods on Amazon Prime Video. Digital revenue is spread over three different categories: digital advertising sales, revenue from distribution and licensing content, and consumer and professional services. In contrast to some competitors, RTL Group recognises only pure digital businesses as digital revenue and does not consider e-commerce, home shopping and platform revenue as digital revenue. Revenue from e-commerce and home shopping are included in ‘revenue from selling goods and merchandise and providing services’ as stated in note 6.1. to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
RTL Group’s revenue is well diversified, with 43.8 per cent from TV advertising, 20.0 per cent from content, 17.5 per cent from digital activities, 6.7 per cent from platform revenue, 3.5 per cent from radio advertising, and 8.5 per cent from other revenue.
Adjusted EBITA was down to €853 million (2019: €1,156 million). The Adjusted EBITA margin came in at 14.2 per cent (2019: 17.4 per cent).
For more detailed information and reconciliation of these measures see pages 54 to 55.
|Operating cash conversion rate (in per cent)||123||105||90||104||97|
Group operating cost base decreased to €5,268 million in 2020 compared to €5,623 million in 2019, driven by programme cost savings at the Group’s broadcasting businesses and production cost savings at Fremantle.
The total share of results of these investments was €32 million (2019: €64 million).
The further reduction of the share price, and the reduction of Spanish TV advertising spend due to the Covid-19 crisis, constituted triggering events for performing the impairment testing for Atresmedia at 30 June 2020. The valuation resulted in an impairment, generating a loss of minus €60 million at 30 June 2020.
In 2020, the Group recorded a gain of €172 million (2019: €86 million), mainly driven by the disposals of BroadbandTV and iGraal.
Net interest expense amounted to €29 million (2019: expense of €32 million), primarily due to the interest charge on the Group’s financial debt, pension costs, lease liability and other interest expenses.
The Group has conducted impairment testing on the different cash generating units (see note 7.2. to the Consolidated Financial Statements).
The loss, totalling €25 million (2019: €15 million), relates to the amortisation of fair value adjustments on acquisitions of subsidiaries and to the impairment loss of goodwill allocated to Divimove.
In 2020, the income tax expense was €250 million (2019: €292 million).
The profit for the year attributable to RTL Group shareholders was €492 million (2019: €754 million), mainly due to the decrease in Adjusted EBITA. This was partly compensated by lower income tax expense and capital gains.
Reported earnings per share, based upon 153,586,913 weighted average number of ordinary shares, both basic and diluted, was down 34.8 per cent to €3.20 (2019: €4.91 per share based on 153,557,430 shares).
RTL Group has an issued share capital of €191,845,074 divided into 154,742,806 fully paid up shares with no defined par value.
Until 28 December 2020, RTL Group directly and indirectly held 0.8 per cent (2019: 0.8 per cent) of RTL Group’s shares (without taking into account the liquidity programme in 2019). On 28 December 2020, RTL Group acquired the remaining shareholdings in RTL Belgium against a payment in cash and RTL Group treasury shares (see note 7.16.8. to the Consolidated Financial Statements).
The annual accounts of RTL Group show a profit for the financial year 2020 of €4,627,791 (2019: €374,073,350). Taking into account the share premium account of €4,691,802,190 (2019: €4,691,802,190) and the profit brought forward of €708,651,448 (2019: €326,956,364), the amount available for distribution is €5,405,081,429 (2019: €5,392,831,904).
In March 2020, Groupe M6 sold its shareholding in its subsidiary iGraal to German Global Savings Group (GSG). The deal took the form of a partial cash sale and a share swap. As a result, Groupe M6 has become a shareholder in GSG. The transaction resulted in a capital gain of €78 million.
In October 2020, RTL Group completed the sale of its entire shareholding in Vancouver-based BroadbandTV to BBTV Holdings Inc. The transaction resulted in a capital gain of €80 million.
In December 2020, RTL Group agreed with its coshareholders in the Group’s Belgian TV and radio operations to acquire their shares in RTL Belgium against a payment in cash and RTL Group treasury shares. The transaction was finalised on 28 December 2020 and took RTL Group’s shareholding in RTL Belgium to 100 per cent.
At 31 December 2020, the principal shareholder of the Group is Bertelsmann Capital Holding GmbH (BCH) (76.28 per cent). The remainder of the Group’s shares are publicly listed on the Frankfurt and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges. The ultimate parent company of RTL Group SA, Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA, includes in its Consolidated Financial Statements those of RTL Group SA.
The Group also has a related party relationship with its associates, joint ventures and with its directors and executive officers.
The comprehensive description on the related party transactions is disclosed in the note 9. to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
RTL Group’s shares (ISIN: LU0061462528) are publicly traded on the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and also on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. From September 2013 to September 2020, RTL Group was listed in the MDAX stock index. Since then, RTL Group is listed in the SDAX stock index.
RTL Group’s share price started 2020 at just over €43.96 and finished the year down 9.4 per cent, at €39.74. The share price highs and lows were €44.24 (17 February) and €27.30 (18 August).
On a quarterly basis, the average share price evolved as follows:
In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, preserving liquidity is essential to safeguard the Group’s present operations and future prospects. In addition to working capital management and review of credit risk, RTL Group’s Board of Directors decided to withdraw its earlier proposal of a €4.00 per share dividend for the fiscal year 2019. Consequently, no dividend was proposed to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders and no dividend was paid for the financial year 2019.
For more information on the analysts’ views on RTL Group and RTL Group’s equity story, please visit the Investor Relations section on RTLGroup.com.
In 2019, RTL Group decided to cancel its ratings from both S&P and Moody’s. Until the date of the cancellation, these ratings were fully aligned to RTL Group’s parent company, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KG, due to its shareholding level and control of RTL Group.
RTL Group’s dividend policy offers a pay-out ratio of at least 80 per cent of the Group’s adjusted net result.
The adjusted net result is the reported net result available to RTL Group shareholders, adjusted for any material non-cash impacts such as goodwill impairments.
The share capital of the company is set at €191,845,074, divided into 154,742,806 shares with no par value.
The shares are in the form of either registered or bearer shares, at the option of the owner.
Bertelsmann has been the majority shareholder of RTL Group since July 2001. As at 31 December 2020, Bertelsmann held 76.28 per cent of RTL Group shares, and 23.72 per cent were free float.
There is no obligation for a shareholder to inform the company of any transfer of bearer shares save for the obligations provided by the Luxembourg law of 15 January 2008 on transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market. Accordingly, the company shall not be liable for the accuracy or completeness of the information shown.
|Transparency level on first quotation||Prime Standard|
|Market segment||Regulated Market|
|Trading model||Continuous Trading|
|Stock exchanges||Frankfurt, Luxembourg|
|Last total dividend (for financial year 2018)||€4.00|
|Number of shares||154,742,806|
|52 week high||€44.24 (17 February 2020)|
|52 week low||€27.30 (18 August 2020)|
|1 As of 31 December 2020|
RTL Group’s shares were/are listed in the indices with the weight as outlined below:
|Index||Weight in per cent||Date|
|Prime All Share||0.0942||30/12/2020|
The following sections give an overview about RTL Group’s reporting segments in 2020. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland (including RTL Radio Deutschland and Smartclip), Groupe M6 (including the French RTL family of radio stations), Fremantle and RTL Nederland. Other segments includes RTL Belgium, RTL Hungary, RTL Croatia, the US-based ad-tech company SpotX, and the digital video network Divimove. It also includes RTL Group’s Luxembourgish activities and the investment accounted for using the equity method, Atresmedia in Spain.
|Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland||2,127||2,262||(6.0)|
|Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland||467||663||(29.6)|
Adjusted EBITA margin
|Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland||22.0||29.3||(7.3)|
In the reporting period, the German net TV advertising market was estimated to be down between 9.0 and 9.5 per cent, with Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland clearly outperforming the market. Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s revenue was down 6.0 per cent to €2,127 million (2019: €2,262 million), as higher platform and streaming revenue partly compensated for lower TV advertising revenue. Adjusted EBITA was significantly down from €663 million in 2019 to €467 million, due to lower TV advertising revenue and higher investments into the streaming service TV Now and other growth initiatives in the area of advertising technology and data.
In 2020, the combined average audience share of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 was 27.5 per cent (2019: 28.1 per cent) including the pay-TV channels RTL Crime, RTL Living, RTL Passion and Geo Television. The German RTL family of channels increased its lead over its main commercial competitor, ProSiebenSat1, to 3.6 percentage points (audience share 2020: 23.9 per cent, 2019: lead of 3.1 percentage points).
With its portfolio of eight free-TV and four pay-TV channels, the streaming service TV Now, and the journalistic digital platforms ntv.de and RTL.de, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland reached 30.3 million viewers and around 7.1 million unique users every day in 2020 (2019: 29.5 million viewers and 4.8 million unique users).
With an audience share of 10.2 per cent in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 in 2020 (2019: 10.7 per cent), RTL Television was the leading channel in the main commercial target group for the 28th consecutive year, well ahead of ZDF (9.0 per cent), Das Erste (8.2 per cent), Sat1 (7.3 per cent), and ProSieben (6.7 per cent). In addition, RTL Television was again the only channel with a double-digit audience share in this demographic.
The channel’s most successful show was Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus! (I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!). On average, 5.30 million viewers (24.6 per cent) aged three and above watched the 14th season of the jungle challenge. The show’s average audience share among viewers aged 14 to 59 was 32.9 per cent, up 0.9 percentage points compared to 2019. Let’s Dance attracted on average 4.70 million viewers, giving the show an average total audience share of 16.1 per cent. The average audience share in the commercial target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 was 19.0 per cent (2019: 18.2 per cent), making the 13th season of the dancing show the most popular since 2014. The main evening news, RTL Aktuell, increased its audience share in the commercial target group to 18.4 per cent, up 2.0 percentage points compared to 2019.
The streaming service TV Now continued its rapid growth in 2020. The service recorded a 64 per cent increase in paying subscribers, taking the total to 1.286 million (end of 2019: 0.783 million) and a 33 per cent increase in viewing time. This was thanks to the wide range of programmes (47,000 hours) available, including the fiction series such as Unter Freunden stirbt man nicht and Sunny – Wer bist Du wirklich?, reality formats such as Temptation Island VIP, and the documentary Stunde Null – Wettlauf mit dem Corona-Virus which was the most streamed documentary on the service in 2020.
Vox achieved a 6.1 per cent audience share in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59 (2019: 6.4 per cent) and was the most-watched channel in prime time in this target group on 14 evenings of the year. Die Höhle der Löwen (Dragons’ Den) remained popular, generating an average audience share of 13.6 per cent among viewers aged 14 to 59, while the seventh season of Sing meinen Song – Das Tauschkonzert was watched by 10.2 per cent of viewers aged 14 to 59, up 1.0 percentage point on the previous year. The documentary Ich bin besonders – Mein Leben mit dem Down-Syndrom was watched by 6.4 per cent of viewers aged 14 to 59.
Nitro attracted 2.1 per cent of the 14 to 59 target group (2019: 2.2 per cent) and 2.6 per cent of its main target demographic of men aged 30 to 49 (2019: 2.9 per cent).
The news channel NTV strongly grew its audiences in 2020, scoring a total audience share of 1.2 per cent and attracting 1.3 per cent of viewers aged 14 to 59 (2019: 1.0 per cent in both target groups).
RTL Plus continued its growth and attained a 1.7 per cent audience share in the 14 to 59 age group, up 0.1 percentage points on 2019.
Super RTL retained its leading position in the children’s segment in 2020, attracting an average audience share of 20.7 per cent in the target group of three to 13-year-olds between 06:00 and 20:15 (2019: 21.6 per cent), ahead of the public service broadcaster KiKA (16.8 per cent).
Vox Up, the latest addition to Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s family of channels, celebrated its first anniversary in December 2020. The channel achieved an average audience share of 0.3 per cent in the target group of viewers aged 14 to 59.
In 2020, RTL Zwei attained a market share of 4.0 per cent among 14 to 59-year-old viewers (2019: 4.2 per cent).
Radio consumption in Germany remained strong in 2020, reaching 74.8 per cent of Germans aged 14 and above every day – with an average listening time of 253 minutes per day. RTL Group’s German radio portfolio reached 14 million Germans aged 14 and above every day. Many radio stations increased their reach, such as Hitradio RTL Sachsen (with a growth of 13 per cent year on year among listeners aged 14 to 49) and 89.0 RTL, a station for younger listeners. 104.6 RTL maintained its market-leading position in the highly competitive Berlin radio market in the target group of listeners aged 14 to 49 for the 27th consecutive time.
Audio Now, one of Germany’s largest audio platforms, expanded its market position in 2020, with up to 6 million monthly users, in-house productions developed by the podcast production company Audio Alliance, and over 140 successful formats.
In 2020, the French net TV advertising market was estimated to be down 11.0 per cent compared to 2019, with Groupe M6 performing in line with the market. Groupe M6’s revenue was down by 12.6 per cent to €1,273 million (2019: €1,456 million). The decrease in revenue was mainly due to the sharp decline in TV advertising revenue in the second quarter of 2020. Groupe M6 successfully offset 89 per cent of the decline in revenue through cost savings. Accordingly, Groupe M6’s Adjusted EBITA was down by 7.3 per cent to €266 million (2019: €287 million).
The audience share of the Groupe M6 family of free-to-air channels in the commercial target group of women under 50 responsible for purchases was almost stable at 22.7 per cent (2019: 22.8 per cent). The total audience share increased slightly to 14.6 per cent (2019: 14.5 per cent). On average, 25.5 million viewers watched Groupe M6’s free-to-air channels every day in 2020, an increase of 9.9 per cent year on year (2019: average reach of 23.2 million viewers per day).
Flagship channel M6 retained its status as the second most-watched channel in France in the commercial target group, with an average audience share of 14.4 per cent (2019: 14.7 per cent). Established entertainment brands such as L’Amour est dans le pré (The Farmer Wants a Wife), Top Chef and La France a Un Incroyable Talent (Got Talent) continued to attract high audience shares. At the same time, the channel introduced new favourites such as Lego Masters and Tous en Cuisine (All in the Kitchen), an innovative cooking show developed within a few days during the first lockdown period in spring 2020. Tous en Cuisine generated an average audience share of 20.0 per cent in the main commercial target group. M6’s news shows Le 1245 and Le 1945 and magazines such as Enquête exclusive broke new audience records in 2020 and played a major role during the health crisis by providing reliable information.
The advertising-financed streaming service 6play continued to grow significantly, with 16.3 million active users in 2020 (2019: 11.1 million active users). Viewing time was up 8.8 per cent to 530 million hours watched (2019: 487 million hours), driven by non-linear viewing of TV programmes from the M6 family of channels and by programmes exclusively licensed or produced for 6play.
On 20 October 2020, Salto – the joint subscription streaming service of Groupe TF1, France Télévisions and Groupe M6 – was launched in France with more than 10,000 hours of content, and the chance to stream 20 TV channels live in HD quality. RTL Group’s technology company Bedrock provides the tech platform for the streaming service, which offers state-of-the-art content curation and personalisation features.
W9 reached an average audience share of 3.8 per cent among women under 50 responsible for purchases (2019: 3.9 per cent), ranking it second among the DTT channels in France in this target group. Reality series such as Les Marseillais VS Le reste du Monde and Les Princes et Princesses, movies, and magazines such as Minute par minute continued to score high ratings.
Among the new generation of DTT channels, 6ter remained the leader in the commercial target group for the fifth consecutive year. With an average audience share of 2.8 per cent (2019: 2.7 per cent), the channel had its best year since its launch in 2012.
With Gulli, Groupe M6 was the leader among the children’s target group (aged 4 to 10 years) during daytime (06:00 to 20:00), with an average audience share of 14.8 per cent (2019: 16.4 per cent).
In 2020, the RTL radio family of stations registered a consolidated audience share of 18.8 per cent among listeners aged 13 and older (2019: 18.4 per cent). Its flagship station, RTL Radio, was the leading commercial station in France for the 18th consecutive year and significantly grew its average audience share to 13.0 per cent (2019: 12.3 per cent). The pop-rock station RTL 2 recorded a stable average audience share of 2.9 per cent (2019: 2.9 per cent), while Fun Radio registered an average audience share of 2.9 per cent (2019: 3.4 per cent).
Revenue at RTL Group’s content business, Fremantle, was down by 14.3 per cent to €1,537 million in 2020 (2019: €1,793 million), mainly due to fewer deliveries of shows and postponements of productions as a result of the worldwide impact of the coronavirus crisis. Accordingly, Fremantle’s Adjusted EBITA was down to €87 million (2019: €142 million).
American Idol was very successful under special circumstances with the live finale produced remotely using 120 iPhones in the judges’ and contestants’ homes. For the key commercial target group of viewers aged 18 to 49, American Idol won a 7.6 per cent average audience share. The fourth season on ABC has already been confirmed for 2021.
In the US, America’s Got Talent: The Champions won an average audience of 8.9 million viewers resulting in a 9.5 per cent total audience share. The 15th season of America’s Got Talent launched in May 2020 and won an average audience share of 10.6 per cent among viewers aged 18 to 49 – 63 per cent higher than NBC’s prime-time average.
Too Hot to Handle – Fremantle’s original dating format – launched on Netflix in April 2020 and quickly topped its most-watched charts globally. Netflix’s Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos described the show as the streaming platform’s “biggest competition show ever”. In March 2020, Five Guys a Week launched on Channel 4 in the UK and was watched by an average 1.4 million viewers per episode on all platforms. The show has already been sold to France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Throughout 2020, Fremantle’s gameshows such as Family Feud, Game of Talents and Ask me Anything aired all over the world. For example, 17 versions of the classic format Family Feud were shown in 2020. In Germany, the sixth season of Wer weiss denn sowas? (Who Knew?) was the most successful so far, attracting an average of 3.6 million total viewers and an average audience share of 16.3 per cent. The show’s number of viewers more than doubled since its first broadcast in 2015.
After its launch in June 2020, The Salisbury Poisonings – a four-part drama series from BBC One and Dancing Ledge Productions – became the BBC’s highestrated drama since August 2018. The first episode was watched by 10.0 million viewers, representing a total audience share of 43.7 per cent, making it the biggest new drama across all channels in the UK since 2018. Fremantle International sold The Salisbury Poisonings, to AMC in the US and to Movistar+ in Spain.
My Brilliant Friend: The Story of a New Name launched on Rai in February 2020 as the most watched drama series in Italy since December 2018, with an average audience of 6.8 million viewers and a total average audience share of 28.0 per cent. In June 2020 it launched on Sky Atlantic, followed by iQIYI, Youko and Tencent in China – making it the first non-English language European drama series to be sold to all three platforms.
The psychological thriller The Sister was successful on ITV at the end of October 2020. The mini-series achieved an average of 5.8 million viewers and an average audience share of 22.5 per cent. The series, which was fully delivered during lockdown in the UK, was sold to 75 territories including Hulu in the US and Viasat in Russia.
The Investigation launched in September 2020 and became Denmark’s highest rated new crime drama of 2020 and TV2’s highest rated crime drama since 2014. The series about the investigation surrounding the murder of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall was watched by an average audience share of 41.0 per cent across the series and has already sold to 93 territories, including HBO in the US, BBC Two in the UK and TV Now in Germany.
The Luminaries, a high-end series set in New Zealand at the height of the 1860s gold rush, launched on BBC One and was watched by 6.5 million viewers across all platforms (with an additional 1.2 million viewers watching the show on catch-up), achieving an average total audience share of 30.0 per cent.
Fremantle’s first Latin American drama, La Jauria, launched in July 2020 on Amazon Prime in Latin America and in December on HBO Max in the US. The second season is already in production.
Expedition Arktis, the first high-end documentary produced by UFA, aired in November 2020 on Germany’s public channel ARD. The film follows MOSAiC – the largest Arctic expedition of all time – and was watched by 4.23 million viewers, with a total audience share of 12.6 per cent. An international version of the documentary, Arctic Drift, is scheduled for 2021.
Enslaved, the six-part documentary series featuring Samuel L. Jackson, is a non-scripted series about the transatlantic slave trade that launched in September 2020 on EPIX in the US. The series was distributed by Fremantle to 130 territories around the world, including as a re-versioned four-part series for BBC Two in the UK.
In 2020, the Dutch net TV advertising market was estimated to be down by 9.8 per cent. RTL Nederland’s revenue decreased by 4.0 per cent to €476 million (2019: €496 million), as higher platform and streaming revenue partly compensated for lower TV advertising revenue. Adjusted EBITA increased by 7.4 per cent to €58 million (2019: €54 million) due to significant cost savings initiated in reaction to the coronavirus crisis.
In 2020, RTL Nederland's family of channels grew its combined prime-time audience share in the target group of viewers aged 25 to 54 to 31.7 per cent (2019: 29.8 per cent), driven by a strong audience performance of the main channel RTL 4. As a result, RTL Nederland remained ahead of the public broadcasters (28.9 per cent) and increased its audience lead over its main commercial competitor, Talpa TV, to 9.9 percentage points (audience share 2020: 21.8 per cent; 2019: lead of 6.5 percentage points).
RTL Nederland’s flagship channel, RTL 4, grew its average prime-time audience share in the target group of shoppers aged 25 to 54 to 18.7 per cent (2019: 17.2 per cent). The channel scored very high audience shares in this target group with the shows The Masked Singer (48.0 per cent) and Lego Masters (40.2 per cent) and retained its strong position in the talent show genre with The Voice Of Holland in spring (34.4 per cent) and autumn (35.9 per cent), The Voice Kids (23.1 per cent) and The Voice Senior (23.0 per cent). Other popular programmes included RTL Late Night, Het Perfecte Plaatje, I Can See Your Voice and Oh Wat Een Jaar. The main evening news show at 19:30, RTL Nieuws, grew its average audience share in 2020 to 27.2 per cent (2019: 21.7 per cent).
RTL Nederland’s streaming service, Videoland, recorded subscriber growth of 38.3 per cent to 0.903 million paying subscribers at the end of 2020 (end of 2019: 0.653 million). The viewing time was up by 81 per cent year on year. Videoland’s high growth was largely driven by the second season of the Videoland original series Mocro Maffia and the reality format Temptation Island, both of which are exclusive to Videoland in the Netherlands.
RTL 5's prime-time audience share was 3.9 per cent in the target group of viewers aged 25 to 54 (2019: 4.1 per cent).
Men’s channel RTL 7 scored an average prime-time audience share of 5.3 per cent among male viewers aged 25 to 54 (2019: 5.5 per cent).
Women’s channel RTL 8 attracted an average prime-time audience share of 3.7 per cent among female viewers aged 35 to 59 (2019: 4.2 per cent).
RTL Z grew its audience share in the demographic of the upper social status aged 25 to 59 to 1.3 per cent (2019: 1.0 per cent), driven by the high interest in news on the coronavirus crisis.
This segment comprises RTL Belgium, RTL Hungary, RTL Croatia, the US-based ad-tech company SpotX, and the digital video network Divimove. It also includes RTL Group’s Luxembourgish activities and its investment accounted for using the equity method, Atresmedia in Spain. The Canada-based digital video network BroadbandTV was consolidated in this segment until the sale of RTL Group’s shareholding in the company on 28 October 2020.
|Total revenue of other segments||873||909||(4.0)|
|- Digital video networks||281||319||(11.9)|
|- RTL Belgium||159||185||(14.1)|
|- RTL Hungary||105||114||(7.9)|
|- RTL Croatia||40||47||(14.9)|
|- Other including elimination||124||111||11.7|
In 2020, the combined revenue of RTL Group’s digital video networks – including BroadbandTV (until 28 October 2020) and Divimove – was down 11.9 per cent to €281 million compared to €319 million in 2019. The decrease was due to the deconsolidation of BroadbandTV at the end of October.
In 2020, Divimove represented 1,500 social influencers in 12 European countries, making it a leading pan-European talent agency and content studio. In January 2020, Divimove acquired Tube One Networks, a leading influencer marketing agency in Germany. The company expanded its value chain across Europe and realised campaigns and productions for clients such as Disney+, H&M, Carlsberg, EA Sports, Nintendo, Samsung, Lego and YouTube. With higher revenue from all major revenue streams – indirect advertising sales via YouTube’s Adsense platform, direct advertising sales, exclusive talent management and digital productions – total revenue of Divimove (United Screens included) was up 24.4 per cent in 2020.
As a leading video ad serving platform for premium publishers and broadcasters, SpotX continues to build solutions to help monetise video content across all screens and devices. The revenue of SpotX (Yospace included) was up by 23.3 per cent to €164 million compared to €133 million in 2019. Revenue growth was driven by expanded partnerships with major media owners and platforms, including AMC Networks, Roku, Samsung, Sony and TiVo, by its connected-TV (CTV) viewership, and by the increase in political ad spend due to the US elections. The United States remains SpotX’s primary market, reaching 70 million CTV households with over 70 per cent of all ad spend in 2020 coming from over-the-top (OTT).
The net TV advertising market in French-speaking Belgium was estimated to be down 10.3 per cent in 2020. Accordingly, RTL Belgium’s revenue was down to €159 million (2019: €185 million). Adjusted EBITA decreased to €16 million (2019: €36 million), reflecting lower TV and radio advertising revenue.
RTL Belgium’s family of TV channels grew its combined audience share among shoppers aged 18 to 54 to 36.1 per cent (2019: 34.5 per cent), maintaining its position as the clear market leader in French-speaking Belgium. RTL Belgium increased its lead over the public channels to 15.5 percentage points (2019: 14.9 percentage points).
The flagship channel, RTL-TVI, increased its audience share among shoppers aged 18 to 54 to 27.1 per cent (2019: 25.3 per cent) – 11.8 percentage points ahead of the Belgian public broadcaster La Une, and 14.1 percentage points ahead of the French broadcaster TF1. The evening news show, RTL Info 19h, grew its average audience share in the commercial target group to 43.3 per cent (2019: 39.2 per cent), reflecting the strong interest in reliable news during the coronavirus crisis.
RTL Belgium’s streaming service, RTL Play, performed strongly in 2020, with an average of 200,400 active users per month (2019: 155,000 active users per month) and 18.6 million video views (2019: 12.5 million).
Club RTL ’s audience share among male viewers aged 18 to 54 decreased to 5.3 per cent (2019: 6.8 per cent), while Plug RTL reported a prime-time audience share of 4.4 per cent among 15 to 34-year-old viewers, up from 3.8 per cent in 2019.
The Hungarian net TV advertising market was estimated to be down by 11.2 per cent in 2020. Total revenue of RTL Hungary was down 7.9 per cent to €105 million (2019: €114 million) mainly due to lower TV advertising revenue. Accordingly, the unit’s Adjusted EBITA decreased to €8 million (2019: €10 million).
With a combined prime-time audience share of 26.6 per cent in the key demographic of 18 to 49-year-old viewers (2019: 27.5 per cent), the eight channels of the Hungarian RTL family were 1.6 percentage points ahead of the main commercial competitor TV2 Group with 14 channels. Flagship channel RTL Klub reached a prime-time audience share of 13.6 per cent among viewers aged 18 to 49 (2019: 14.4 per cent) and remained the clear market leader, 2.0 percentage points ahead of TV2 (2019: 3.8 percentage points). The most popular daily series was Dear Heirs, with an average audience share of 18.2 per cent among 18 to 49-year-olds, while the market-leading news programme – RTL Híradó – attracted 18.1 per cent of viewers aged 18 to 49 (2019: 18.5 per cent), and an average total audience share of 21.4 per cent (2019: 21.3 per cent).
The streaming platform RTL Most is the leading local brand for professionally produced online video content. The service generated an increase of 18.3 per cent of registered users in 2020 compared to 2019.
In Croatia, the net TV advertising market was estimated to be down 15.8 per cent. Total revenue of RTL Croatia was down to €40 million (2019: €47 million). Accordingly, Adjusted EBITA was down to minus €2 million (2019: €1 million).
RTL Croatia’s channels achieved a combined prime-time audience share of 27.0 per cent in the target audience aged 18 to 49 (2019: 25.8 per cent). The flagship channel, RTL Televizija, recorded a prime-time audience share of 17.9 per cent of 18 to 49-year-olds (2019: 17.6 per cent).
Local content production remained a cornerstone of the channel’s programming including formats such as Ljubav je na selu (The Farmer Wants a Wife), Superpar (Powercouple), Život na vagi (The Biggest Loser), Brak na prvu (Married at First Sight) and Večera za pet na selu (Come Dine With Me – Village Edition). The year started with the European Men’s Handball Championship, which attracted an average audience share of 37.1 per cent across 18 live matches, while the match between Spain and Croatia was watched by 81 per cent of 18 to 49-year-old viewers. The late-night news format, RTL Direkt, scored an average audience share of 21.4 per cent in the target audience aged 18 to 49 (2019: 20.8 per cent) while the main news format, RTL Danas, scored an average of 20.4 per cent (2019: 19.1 per cent).
RTL 2 grew its prime-time audience share to 6.6 per cent (2019: 5.6 per cent). The children’s channel, RTL Kockica, recorded an average audience share of 16.4 per cent (2019: 18.2 per cent) among children aged four to 14 between the hours of 7:00 and 20:00.
RTL Croatia’s streaming platform RTL Play – the largest free streaming platform in Croatia – registered 16.3 million video views, up 35.8 per cent year on year (2019: 12 million video views). In September 2020, RTL Play launched the pay service Play Premium with two different price tiers. The basic tier includes access to content from RTL Croatia’s pay-TV channels (both linear and non-linear) and additional SVOD exclusives. The extended price tier offers additional content from Discovery and TLC Eurosport.
In 2020, RTL Luxembourg confirmed its position as the leading media brand in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Combining its TV, radio and digital activities (all three of which appear in the top five media ranking in Luxembourg), the RTL Luxembourg media family achieved a daily reach of 82.1 per cent (2019: 82.3 per cent) of all Luxembourgers aged 15 and over.
Remaining the number one station listeners turn to for news and entertainment, RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg reached 151,800 listeners each weekday (2019: 164,500). RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg – the only general-interest TV channel broadcast in Luxembourgish – attracted 153,000 viewers each day (2019: 124,700) and achieved a prime-time audience share of 50.3 per cent in the target group of Luxembourgish viewers aged 15 and over (2019: 44.6 per cent). RTL.lu, Luxembourg’s most visited website, has a daily reach of 46.7 per cent (2019: 45.8 per cent) of all Luxembourgers aged 15 and over. In December 2020, RTL Luxembourg launched RTL Play, a new streaming platform for audio and video content that contains all of RTL Luxembourg’s original programmes, podcasts, and external productions and series in Luxembourgish, French and English.
In 2020, Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) extended its footprint in the online video market, serving European institutions (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the Council of the European Union), sports federations and live-streaming of hybrid events such as music festivals, fashion events, general assemblies and product roadshows. BCE’s playout operations have proven to be resilient during the coronavirus crisis, keeping their full range of services operational by introducing strict security and sanitary measures. BCE also worked on the migration of Radio France to an IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure for the distribution of all audio and video content and Antenne Réunion to HD.
The Spanish net TV advertising market decreased by an estimated 18.4 per cent in 2020. On a 100 per cent basis, consolidated revenue of Atresmedia was down 16.7 per cent to €866 million (2019: €1,039 million), while operating profit (EBITDA) was down by 59.8 per cent to €74 million (2019: €184 million) and net profit was €24 million (2019: €120 million). The profit share of RTL Group was €4 million (2019: €22 million).
The Atresmedia family of channels achieved a combined audience share of 27.8 per cent in the commercial target group of viewers aged 25 to 59 (2019: 27.7 per cent). The main channel, Antena 3, recorded an audience share of 11.4 per cent (2019: 11.4 per cent) in the commercial target group.
The further reduction of the share price, and the reduction of Spanish TV advertising spend due to Covid-19 constituted triggering events for performing the impairment testing for Atresmedia at 30 June 2020. The current valuation resulted in an impairment, generating a loss of minus €60 million at 30 June 2020.
For more information on investments in associates please see note 7.5.1.to the Consolidated Financial Statements in the RTL Group Annual Report 2020.
RTL Group believes that CR adds value not only to the societies and communities it serves, but also to the Group and its businesses. Acting responsibly and sustainably enhances the Group’s ability to remain successful in the future.
CR is integral to the Group’s mission. The Mission Statement defines what the Group does, what it stands for and how employees communicate – both with the outside world and with each other. At the heart of RTL Group’s guiding principles and values is a commitment to embracing independence and diversity in its people, content and businesses.
Following the reorganisation of the Group’s Corporate Centre in 2019, RTL Group redefined its CR organisation in 2020. As part of this re-evaluation the Group decided to stop publishing its own Non-Financial Statement. The information of the Combined Non-Financial Statement (compliant with the European Directive 2014/95/EU and provisions by the law of 23 July 2016 regarding the publication of non-financial and diversity information in Luxembourg) can be found in the Annual Report of RTL Group’s majority shareholder, Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA. Further information on RTL Group’s non-financial information can also be found in the GRI reporting of Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA on Bertelsmann.com.
At the end of 2020, RTL Group established a new RTL CR Board that brings together executives from RTL Group and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The Board meets monthly to coordinate projects in key areas such as diversity, editorial independence and climate protection, to develop new ideas and to ensure efficient use of the expertise in the Corporate Centre and in the Group’s largest business unit. The RTL Group CR Network – created in March 2014 and consisting of CR representatives from the Group’s profit centres – meets annually to share best-practice and knowledge. In addition, RTL Group established a Climate Task Force, consisting of members from all business units, who meet to discuss and collaborate to achieve defined climate targets. The Group is working hard to reduce CO2 emissions, with a view to becoming climate-neutral by 2030.
The following summary covers the key information of the following subjects: editorial independence, employees, diversity, society, intellectual property and copyright, information security, anti-corruption and anti-bribery, human rights and environment.
RTL Group’s CR activities focus primarily on the following issues: content responsibility, creative/editorial independence and freedom of expression, intellectual property and copyright, fair working conditions, diversity and inclusion, health and well-being, learning (including digital media literacy) and climate change. These issues were identified in a materiality analysis conducted in 2020 in close consultation with Bertelsmann.
1 The different environmental topics have been pooled
2 Including digital media literacy
RTL Group’s broadcasting and news reporting are founded on editorial and journalistic independence. RTL Group’s commitment to impartiality, responsibility and other core journalistic principles is articulated in its Newsroom Guidelines. Maintaining audience trust has become even more important in an era when news organisations and tech platforms have been accused of publishing misleading stories, and when individuals, radical political movements and even hostile powers post fake news on social networks to sow discord.
For RTL Group, independence means being able to provide news and information without compromising its journalistic principles and balanced position. Local CEOs act as publishers and thus are not involved in producing content. In each news organisation, editors-in-chief apply rigorous ethical standards and ensure compliance with local guidelines, which gives the Group’s journalists the freedom to express a range of opinions, reflecting society’s diversity and supporting democracy.
RTL Group has a diverse audience and therefore needs to be a diverse and creative business. In 2020, the Group had an average of 10,598 full-time employees (15,960 headcount, including permanent and temporary employees) in more than 30 countries worldwide. They range from producers and finance professionals to journalists and digital technology experts.
RTL Group strives to be an employer of choice – one that attracts and retains the best talent. The objective is to equip employees with the skills and competencies they need to address the company’s current and future challenges. The Group does this by offering training programmes and individual coaching in a wide range of subjects, from strategy and leadership to digital skills and health and well-being. It reviews and, if necessary, adjusts its training offers on an ongoing basis.
RTL Group’s corporate culture is founded on creativity and entrepreneurship. The Group strives to ensure that all employees receive fair recognition, treatment and opportunities and is committed to fair and genderblind pay. The same applies to the remuneration of freelancers and temporary staff, ensuring that such employment relationships do not compromise or circumvent employee rights. The Group also strives to support flexible working arrangements.
The coronavirus crisis and various lockdown measures have changed the world of work tremendously. In 2020, RTL Group offered flexible home-office options to all employees who could work from home and whose function did not require their presence at the office. Various local surveys were conducted to find out how employees experience these new ways of working, and to establish their future expectations. The results showed that employees want more flexibility in their working life. As a result, RTL Group’s management is committed – in close consultation with employee representatives – to finding hybrid solutions that blend working from home and at the office.
RTL Group’s commitment to diversity is embedded in its processes and articulated in its corporate principles. The cornerstone is the RTL Group Diversity Statement that reinforces the company’s commitment to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity. It sets guidelines and qualitative ambitions for the diversity of the Group’s people, content and businesses.
RTL Group is committed to making every level of the organisation more diverse with regard to nationality, gender, age, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic background. The Group places a special emphasis on gender diversity. RTL Group’s workforce as a whole is balanced by gender (with 52 per cent men and 48 per cent women as of 31 December 2020). At the end of 2020, women accounted for 24 per cent of top management positions (31 December 2019: 22 per cent), and 24 per cent of senior management positions (31 December 2019: 20 per cent).
Top management generally encompasses the members of the Executive Committee, the CEOs of the business units and their direct reports members of the Management Boards, and the Executive Committee direct reports at RTL Group’s Corporate Centre. Senior management generally encompasses the Managing Directors of the businesses at each business unit, the heads of the business units’ departments and the Senior Vice Presidents of RTL Group’s Corporate Centre (unless already classified as members of top management).
RTL Group’s long-term ambition is for women and men to be represented in equal proportions across all management layers. In 2019, RTL Group’s Executive Committee reviewed the Group’s objectives and set the following quantitative targets for 2021: to increase the ratio of women in top and senior management positions to at least one third (24 per cent as of 31 December 2020). The Group reports on its progress towards these diversity targets each year.
The importance of diversity is also reflected in the content the Group produces. The millions of people who turn to RTL Group each day for the latest local, national and international news need a source they can trust. RTL Group therefore maintains a journalistic balance that reflects the diverse opinions of the societies it serves. The same commitment to diversity applies to the Group’s entertainment programming: it is essential for RTL Group to create formats for a wide range of audiences across all platforms. Content needs to be as representative as possible of the diversity of society, so that many different segments of society can identify with it.
In 2020, Fremantle committed itself globally to more diversity across its business and content by focusing on three key areas. Unlock is a commitment to creating opportunities across the business, including the expansion of mentoring initiatives to broaden the diversity of the hiring pool and to promote change across the wider industry. Unlearn is a new and ongoing cultural learning programme which includes mandatory bias training. Untitled is a communication platform designed to amplify and involve all voices, where Fremantle facilitates multiple open-forum sessions for their employees to discuss equality or voice concerns.
In the US, Fremantle is working with the Hollywood Bridge Fund, a scheme that trains and connects below-the-line, underrepresented workers to job opportunities in Hollywood and helps broaden the diversity of the hiring pool. In the UK, Fremantle created a mentoring initiative with the TV Collective called Breakthrough Leaders to develop a mentoring programme designed to support 50 Black, Asian and minority ethnic future leaders. In Germany, UFA made a commitment to becoming more diverse both in front of and behind the camera. By the end of 2024, UFA’s full-year programming portfolio should reflect the diversity found in society.
As a leading media organisation and broadcaster, RTL Group has social responsibilities to the communities and audiences it serves. These responsibilities are particularly serious regarding children and young people. The Group complies fully with all child-protection laws and also ensures that its programming is suitable for children or is broadcast when they are unlikely to be viewing. In addition, RTL Group strives to give back to its communities by using its high profile to raise public awareness of, and funds for, important social issues, particularly those that might otherwise receive less coverage or funding.
As part of the Group’s support of worthy causes, it provides free airtime worth several million euros to charities or non-profit organisations, to enable them to raise awareness of their cause. In addition, RTL Group donates significant amounts of money to numerous charitable initiatives and corporate foundations. Finally, RTL Group’s flagship events broadcast in 2020 (Télévie in Belgium and Luxembourg; RTL-Spendenmarathon in Germany) raised €27,129,150 for charity (2019: €24,806,880).
RTL Group’s primary mission is to invest in high-quality entertainment programmes, fiction, drama, news and sports, and to attract new creative talent who can help the Group contribute to a vibrant, creative, innovative and diverse media landscape. Strong intellectual property rights are the foundation of RTL Group’s business, and that of creators and rights holders.
RTL Group’s Code of Conduct and Information Security Policy set a high standard for the protection of intellectual property. All employees are expected to comply with copyright laws and licensing agreements and to put in place appropriate security practices (password protection, approved technology and licensed software) to protect intellectual property. Sharing, downloading or exchanging copyrighted files without appropriate permission is prohibited.
The foundation for lasting business success is built on integrity and trustworthiness, and RTL Group has zero tolerance of any form of illegal or unethical conduct. Violating laws and regulations – including those relating to bribery and corruption – is not consistent with RTL Group’s values and could damage the Group. Non-compliance could harm the Group’s reputation, result in significant fines, endanger its business success and expose its people to criminal or civil prosecution.
The Compliance department provides Group-wide support on anti-corruption, anti-bribery, and other compliance-related matters. In addition to centralised management by the Compliance department, each business unit has a Compliance Responsible in charge of addressing compliance issues, including anti-corruption.
For information about RTL Group’s Audit Committee please see pages 82 to 83 of RTL Group’s Annual Report.
Representatives of RTL Group management sit on the RTL Group Corporate Compliance Committee. The committee, which is chaired by RTL Group’s Chief Financial Officer, is responsible for monitoring compliance activities, promoting ethical conduct and fighting corruption and bribery. It is kept informed about ongoing compliance cases and the measures taken to prevent compliance violations.
The RTL Group Anti-Corruption Policy is the Group’s principal policy for fighting corruption. It outlines rules and procedures for conducting business in accordance with anti-corruption laws and Group principles.
Respect for human rights is a vital part of RTL Group’s Code of Conduct, which includes a decision-making guide that clarifies how to comply with the company’s standards in case of doubt. The Group’s commitment to responsible and ethical business practices extends to its business partners. In 2017, RTL Group established the RTL Group Business Partner Principles, which sets minimum standards for responsible business relationships. To report suspected human rights violations or unethical practices, employees and third parties can contact RTL Group’s compliance reporting channels (directly or through a web-based reporting platform) or an independent ombudsperson. In all cases, they may do so anonymously.
RTL Group is a media company with no industrial operations and therefore does not consume significant amounts of raw materials or fossil fuel and is not a major polluter. The Group is mindful that resource conservation and climate protection are key challenges for the 21st century. For this reason – together with employees and in dialogue with various stakeholders – RTL Group is committed to minimising its impact on the environment, by reducing its energy use and its direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It codified this commitment in February 2018 by issuing its first Environmental Statement.
RTL Group has measured and published its carbon footprint since 2008. Serving as the key indicator for evaluating and continually improving the Group’s climate performance, it was formerly calculated on the basis of each country’s average energy mix. To improve data quality, since 2017 it has been calculated on the basis of the emissions associated with the Group’s individual electricity supply contracts.
At the beginning of 2020, RTL Group decided to become carbon neutral by 2030. It will reach this goal in two steps. By 2025, RTL Group will be carbon neutral with regards to company-related CO2 emissions. Here, the main focus will be on switching to green electricity, reducing business travel and offsetting the remaining emissions. By 2030, the Group will reach full carbon neutrality with regards to the emissions from the production of its programmes and products.
For RTL Group’s environmental indicators according to GRI standards please visit RTLGroup.com.
Innovations at RTL Group focus on three core topics: continuously developing new, high-quality TV formats; using all digital means of distribution; and better monetisation of the Group’s audience reach, via targeting and personalisation/recommendation.
For example, RTL Group established the Format Creation Group (FC Group) to meet the high demand for exclusive content by developing innovative format ideas and intellectual property fully owned and controlled by RTL Group.
On 20 October 2020, Salto – the joint subscription streaming service of Groupe TF1, France Télévisions and Groupe M6 – was launched in France. The technology company Bedrock, a company owned by RTL Group and Groupe M6, provides the tech platform for Salto with state-of-the-art content curation and personalisation features. The Bedrock tech platform will also be used by RTL Group broadcasters and is open to other European broadcasters.
Addressable TV (ATV) advertising combines the high reach of linear TV with the targeting solutions of digital advertising. RTL Group aims to create an open ad-tech platform, based on the technology developed by its subsidiary Smartclip and tailored for the needs of European broadcasters and streaming services. RTL Group is in talks with several European broadcasters to work on ad-tech partnerships with Smartclip.