November 8, 2018 / 7:02 AM / a year ago

RTL Group confirms guidance as rival ProSieben hits trouble

FRANKFURT, Nov 8 (Reuters) - European broadcaster RTL Group on Thursday reported a 3.6 percent gain in third-quarter revenues as its TV production unit and digital businesses grew, and confirmed its guidance for the year as a whole.

Revenues at 1.422 billion euros ($1.63 billion) were in line with expectations in a Reuters poll of analysts, while core profits fell by 3.4 percent mainly due to the weak advertising market in Germany.

Facing similar challenges, German competitor ProSiebenSat.1 has cut its dividend payout ratio, lowered its sales outlook and warned of writeoffs against U.S. studio contracts that it is renegotiating.

RTL, controlled by German publishing group Bertelsmann , confirmed its guidance for revenues to grow this year by between 2.5 and 5 percent, excluding exchange rate effects.

It expects earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to be broadly stable after adjusting for the one-off impact of a real estate sale in 2017.

Chief Executive Bert Habets said RTL, which runs TV stations in eight European countries, would ramp up its offering of Video-on-Demand streaming products as it takes on global players like Netflix and Amazon.

“We will substantially increase the content offers of our streaming services across all genres – this includes showing programmes online first and developing original productions for these services,” Habets said in a statement.

$1 = 0.8748 euros Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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