August 29, 2018 / 6:01 AM / 24 days ago

RTL results beat expectations on digital, scripted drama

FRANKFURT, Aug 29 (Reuters) - European broadcaster RTL Group reported forecast-beating growth in revenues and core earnings in the second quarter and said it would invest in building its video-on-demand services and producing more scripted drama.

Revenues rose by 3.6 percent in the quarter to 1.63 billion euros ($1.86 billion), topping even the highest forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for 1.62 billion euros. On an underlying basis, after currency and other effects, they rose 4.6 percent.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 4.7 percent, also ahead of market expectations for a slight decline.

The top line was buoyed by growth in RTL’s digital operation and at its Fremantle TV production unit, the company said, while music talent show American Idol returned to air on U.S. network ABC.

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 EBITDA to be broadly stable after adjusting for the one-off impact of a real estate sale in 2017. ($1 = 0.8744 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Caroline Copley)

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