FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European broadcaster RTL Group (RRTL.DE) posted forecast-beating quarterly profits and raised its outlook on Thursday as its German and French operations shone, contrasting with struggling rival ProSiebenSat 1 Media SE (PSMGn.DE).
Luxembourg-based RTL said it now expected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to grow 1 to 2.5 percent this year, up from earlier guidance that they would be stable.
The company, controlled by Bertelsmann (BTGGg.F), confirmed its forecast for revenues to grow by 2.5 to 5 percent.
“For our German and French TV activities, we’ve been very strong – in the TV ad markets we’ve been outperforming the markets significantly,” Co-CEO Bert Habets told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Performance was weaker in the UK, where two shows were cancelled, but Habets was bullish on the overall outlook thanks to scripted content and new show formats that RTL was bringing to new markets.
He singled out celebrity show “The Golden Brain” and Dutch reality show “Get The Fuck Out Of My House”, which was now airing in Brazil and is coming to Germany. Another season of “American Idol” will be broadcast next year.
EBITDA rose by 17.4 percent in the third quarter to 263 million euros (232.38 million pounds), above market expectations. Revenues added 1.5 percent.
One-off effects are likely to lift EBITDA significantly in the fourth quarter. RTL is expected to sell its building in Paris for 114 million euros and get 85 percent of the proceeds before the end of the year.
TV advertising accounts for 48 percent of group revenues, content 19 percent and digital 13 percent - a share it wants to raise to 15 to 20 percent, Habets said.
As part of its digital push, RTL expects to integrate its SpotX and Smartclip ad-tech units into a single company by the end of next year.
ProSiebenSat.1, in the latest of a series of downgrades, on Wednesday cut its outlook for revenues and profits for the year and abandoned a forecast for TV advertising revenues in its home market in the fourth quarter.
RTL shares gained 1.3 percent in early Frankfurt trading. ProSieben fell 5.3 percent.
Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan, Larry King