With our Dutch svod service, videoland, we have already gained experience in designing and maintaining these direct-to-consumer offers creating a strong user experience and offering exclusive dutch content. In 2017, videoland reported strong subscriber growth of 78 per cent. In France, 6play from Groupe M6 wallpaper is a purely advertising-financed service. With an excellent user experience and customisation features, it now has more than 20 million registered users. During 2018 we will introduce new vod services in Belgium, hungary and Croatia all based on the 6play platform. This is the kind of cooperation that works across rtl Group. Local, exclusive content has defined the roots of our success in the free-to-air business and will remain an important long-term usp.
We will therefore increase our investment in our video-on-demand services or vod services in short in countries where we have strong families of linear tv channels, and focus on long-form content. Here we will gradually adopt a hybrid model combining a free, advertising-financed service with a premium pay product. Can you tell us more about this hybrid model? Our well-established vod platforms, such as TV Now in Germany, offer content from our tv channels and are mainly financed by advertising. We will enhance them with a premium offer, combining our own content and licensed save third-party content, in hd or Ultra. We will build our marketing around a content schedule, so we can make the most of our flagship productions, primarily based on exclusive, local content. These flagship productions are key to gaining and retaining subscribers and building the brand of such a service. The free vod services will serve as promotion platforms and will enable the upselling to our subscription-funded vod services.
This is especially the case in countries with high pay-tv penetration and high prices for premium pay-tv which explains the strong growth of streaming services around the globe. State-of-the-art technology and big data are key elements of all successful business models in the digital media world bert Habets speaking at Dmexco 2017 in Cologne. What is rtl Groups response to these changes? Consumers no longer care where they watch our content, so why should we still draw strict lines between linear and non-linear, offline and online? Therefore, our next generation of tv will bring our linear tv channels and on-demand services much closer together. Catch-up tv is yesterdays terminology its no longer a mere add-on to linear channels. There is a european market for on-demand platforms with a clear focus on local, exclusive content.
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We are in a strong position to write the next chapter in rtl Groups success story, across broadcast, content hook and digital. We have a highly profitable, cash-generating core business in tv broadcasting. FremantleMedia has successfully branched out into scripted drama. And in digital video, we are among the leaders in ad tech and in the growing ecosystem for short-form online video on platforms such as and Facebook. In a nutshell: dog we have the power and platforms to accelerate our Total Video strategy. To succeed in this, we have to go back to our roots, to re-invigorate rtls pioneering spirit one of taking calculated risks, putting the consumer first, maximising the time they spend with our content, and sharing best practices and business opportunities across our business. Whats in this next chapter?
Our industry is becoming more and more complex and the media landscape increasingly fragmented. With digitisation, consumer behaviour keeps changing at a staggering pace. And these are the key trends: the younger the target group, the higher the share of non-linear viewing and of viewing on mobile devices. At the same time, many non-linear viewers are demanding high-end drama, and are increasingly willing to pay for. There are simple reasons for this: streaming services offer a new seamless, tailored viewing experience and much more attractive price points for their pay offers.
Ebitda was up, and we saw a significant improvement of the ebitda margin. From a creative perspective, we saw more of FremantleMedias push into drama in 2017 with. The young Pope on hbo, american Gods on Starz and Amazon Prime video, and. Charité on the german public channel Das Erste. And they all were recommissioned, which is exceptional in this business, where only hits are commissioned for a further season. There are even more shows currently in production.
Deutschland 86, picnic At Hanging Rock, modus and, my Brilliant Friend. Most recently, hard Sun premiered on the bbc in the. Additionally, american Idol has now returned to us screens on abc a ratings juggernaut that will benefit FremantleMedia financially in future. The show launched in March 2018 and judging by the first audience figures, i believe its fair to say that. American Idol is still going strong. What are your plans for rtl Group now?
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In October, we completed the regrouping of Groupe M6 and rtl Radio in France into one company, which makes us more competitive in the digital media world. This transaction opens a new, very promising chapter for our French tv and radio operations, as convergence and consolidation continue to shape our industry not only in North America, but also across our European footprint. Additionally, we are very happy about the development of the video-on-demand service 6play, which helped increase digital advertising revenue. And in early 2018, Groupe M6 signed new distribution agreements with all major distributors in France, which also helps to further diversify revenues. How did FremantleMedia do? FremantleMedias revenue was down, way mainly due to negative exchange rate effects. This means in operational performance, the company has more than compensated for the loss. American Idol in 2017.
launched channels in Germany and recorded the strongest growth of all channels in Germany. In digital, mediengruppe rtl Deutschland grew its digital revenue significantly also driven by the full-year consolidation of Smartclip. In his first year as ceo of rtl Group, bert Habets took the opportunity to meet and talk with colleagues from across the Group. Here with Nicolas de tavernost, ceo and Chairman of the management board of Groupe M6. Groupe M6 significantly outperformed the market and recorded excellent revenue growth. Reported ebitda is down only because of a positive one-off effect in 2016 without that, ebitda would have been up by about 9 per cent. This underlines the strong operational performance of Groupe M6.
What was behind the performance in essay 2017? Both Mediengruppe rtl Deutschland and Groupe M6 significantly outperformed their respective tv advertising markets and increased their revenue, and there was a significant one-off effect from the sale of a building in France. Mediengruppe rtl Deutschland generated a record profit for the sixth consecutive year, while FremantleMedia significantly improved its profitability. Lets expand on those three profit centres one by one. How did the german tv business perform? Mediengruppe rtl Deutschland continued its investment in local, exclusive programming and has made significant contributions to the creative industry, spending around 1 billion on content every year. One of the most popular launches in 2017 was the comedy series, magda macht das schon, complementing a strong portfolio of local content including.
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How did rtl Group perform in 2017? 2017 was another very strong financial year and this despite challenging tv advertising markets across our footprint. Even though revenue grew slightly less than expected due only to negative exchange rate effects we are once again reporting record results for revenue and ebitda. What does this mean for your shareholders? Our results show once again that rtl Group is a healthy business. This gives us the good room we need for both attractive dividends and continued investments. So we have decided to propose to the agm a final dividend.00 per share. Including the interim dividend, this brings us to a total dividend.00 per share for the financial year 2017, and a dividend yield.9 per cent.