RTL Group Boss Unveils Pay-TV Plan

22 February 2005

European broadcasting giant RTL Group is increasingly enamoured with the idea of pay-TV.

The company, part of the Bertelsmann media stable, sees pay-TV as the way to overcome the threat of increasing fragmentation in the European digital TV market.

Says RTL Group ceo Gerhard Zeiler: "Every broadcaster isn't going to be able to survive on ad revenue. That's why we're going to establish channels that viewers will have to pay for."

He sees pay-TV as the best way to create a stable of channels in major European markets such as France and Spain.

RTL, which generates more than forty per cent of Bertelsmann's profits, currently operates a network of thirty-one TV channels across ten countries.

Its most troublesome arena is Germany where poor economic performance has adversely affected the €7.7 billion ($10bn, £5.3bn) TV advertising market and competition has strengthened in the form of resurgent public service broadcaster ARD. Until now RTL's German operation has been its star performer.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff