German media titan Bertelsmann has reported an 8.1% rise in operating earnings for the first half of 2005 to €644 million ($807m; £435m).

The increase was driven by its Gruner+Jahr magazine division, publishing arm Random House, and Arvato, the printing and services business which was the group's best performer, with operating earnings jumping 25% to €100 million in the first half.

However, broadcasting arm RTL Group did not fare so well. The unit, which operates TV stations across Europe, accounts for nearly half of Bertelsmann's operating profit.

RTL, which disclosed H1 earnings last week, reported a 5% decline in operating earnings before interest, taxes and amortization to €378m, as revenue fell 2.4% to €2.4 billion.

Critics say the weakness is the result of RTL's failure to invest enough in new programming.

Bertelsmann finance chief Siegfried Luthers is upbeat about the results, saying: "We continue to expect a considerable improvement in full-year [operating] earnings."

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