Annual Report 2019


…video is the most complete medium. There is no better way to tell a story. Video engages our mind and captures our heart. It demands our attention and fires our imagination. Since our first radio broadcast in 1924, and through the growth of video and digital, our aim has always been to entertain, inform and engage our audiences – and this is our role in society.

Our Mission Statement defines who we are, what we do and what we stand for. It reflects our role in society and guides us in our work. It includes a commitment to embrace independence and diversity in our people, our content and our businesses. This demonstrates that being a responsible company is integral to our mission.


Every day, millions of people access RTL Group’s content on television, digital platforms and radio. This audience is at the heart of what we do.

We’ve never strayed from our commitment to be ‘refreshingly different’ and ‘always close to the audience’. And we’ve grown over the years by covering the events and issues people care about. The millions of people who turn to us each day for the latest news need to be able to trust us. A healthy, diverse and high-quality media landscape is the foundation of a democratic and connected society. In this light, our commitment to independence and diversity in our content means we can maintain journalistic balance and reflect the diverse opinions of the societies we serve. In keeping with this commitment, at each business unit, our local CEOs act as publishers, not interfering in the selection or production of content, which remains the exclusive responsibility of our editors-in-chief and programme directors.

Since the early 1990s, we’ve been building families of TV channels, radio stations, digital platforms and streaming services. They offer our audiences a vast range of highquality entertainment and information programmes that can be enjoyed by people of all demographics and circumstances. We also take great care to protect all media users.

We succeed in entertainment by building inspiring environments where creative and pioneering spirits can thrive. Our broadcasters and streaming services commission content from production companies. Our own production company, Fremantle, commissions scriptwriters, artists, and many other creatives, and our digital platforms showcase young video talents.

To enhance our creative output we are also developing strategic alliances and partnerships. Within the newly launched Bertelsmann Content Alliance, RTL Group companies are working closely on several content cooperation projects with other Bertelsmann companies, not only adding value and a competitive edge, but aiming to attract more and new artists and creators. Our new Format Creation Group (FC Group) develops non-scripted formats exclusively for RTL broadcasters and their streaming services. The new unit aims to fulfil the growing demand for exclusive content by developing innovative formats and intellectual property, fully owned and controlled by RTL Group. Whether we buy a programme from a production company, create one ourselves, or work in partnerships, it involves a substantial investment. Being able to recoup this investment comes from our exclusive right to show and distribute the programme in a particular geographic area.

Successful programmes attract large audiences, which, in turn, attract advertisers who pay us to show their commercials. This cycle ensures production companies and other creators are suitably rewarded, so they can continue to develop new, entertaining and compelling content.

Maintaining the integrity of this cycle is crucial. That is why copyright is the lifeblood of our industry. Effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights are especially important in a digital world, where people can watch whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. Without this protection and enforcement, the rewards to creators would fade away – as would their creativity. Our unwavering commitment to copyright is therefore one important way in which we add value to society.

*based on fully consolidated businesses


Our business is based on talent.
We depend on the creativity and dedication of our employees, so we give our people the freedom to create.

To recruit, retain and reward our emloyees, we offer attractive salaries and other financial incentives. We foster a supportive, fair and inspiring work environment and offer talent management and succession planning programmes.

We want to be the employer of choice. Therefore, we offer a wide range of opportunities for our people to develop personally and professionally, to advance their careers, and to maintain a healthy work-life balance. With a diverse audience, we need to be a diverse business. To remain an attractive and successful employer, we must reflect the audiences we entertain, and so we embrace workplace diversity in gender, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic status. We offer equal opportunities and recognise everyone’s unique value, treating each person with courtesy, honesty and dignity. In our Diversity Statement, we reinforce our commitment to equal opportunities and non-discrimination throughout all RTL Group companies.

TV reaches mass audiences, and so is still the dominant ingredient in the advertising mix. It establishes the key message of a major advertising campaign in a brand-safe environment and then resonates across other media. We’ve taken many steps to expand our position in the rapidly growing online video advertising market. RTL AdConnect, for example, now represents more than 400 first-class broadcast and digital media partners, including ITV in the UK, helping advertisers promote their products and services internationally or to run a big, international campaign across Europe as one region.

Television and video commercials work best when they tell interesting, informative stories that connect with viewers’ emotions. Together, high-quality programming and engaging commercials are the basis for successful free-to-air broadcasting. Every day, more than 100 million viewers watch our free-TV channels, which are financed mainly by advertising. Advertising helps shape people’s lifestyles, guides their purchasing decisions and keeps the global economy moving. It also fosters media neutrality – an essential ingredient of a democratic society. A Europe without advertising would not be as affluent, informed or competitive.


As a leading media organisation, we are in an excellent position to raise awareness of important social and environmental issues, particularly those that might otherwise go unreported or under-funded. We do this through TV and radio reports, magazine programmes and series, and on many digital platforms, but we are well aware of the care and responsibility we must take as both an opinion former and information provider.

We also harness our profile, and the power of TV, radio and the internet, to raise money for charities that make a positive difference to people’s lives. This is a contribution to society that only we can make, and so we see it as our duty to do so.

Since 1996, the annual RTL-Spendenmarathon in Germany has raised more than €180 million for children in need, while our Télévie events in Belgium and Luxembourg have raised more than €198 million for scientific research to fight cancer – particularly leukaemia – since 1989. We also support many organisations and projects that help sick or disadvantaged children and young people in Croatia, Belgium, Hungary, the UK, France and the Netherlands.