With 45 television channels and 33 radio stations in 11 countries, Luxembourg-based RTL Group is the leading European entertainment network. The company is one of the world’s leading producers of television content such as talent and game shows, drama, daily soaps and telenovelas, including Idols, Got Talent, The X Factor, Good Times − Bad Times, Family Feud and The Bill.
RTL Group’s business units
Television: RTL Group is Europe’s largest broadcaster. Each day, over 200 million viewers all over Europe watch RTL Group’s television channels, which include the families of channels clustered around the flagships RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, RTL 4 in the Netherlands, RTL-TVI in Belgium, and the young Five family in the UK. The company also has broadcasting operations in Hungary (RTL Klub), Greece (Alpha TV), Russia (Ren TV), and Croatia (RTL Televizija).
Content: RTL Group’s content production arm, FremantleMedia, is one of the largest international producers outside the US. Each year it produces over 10,000 hours of award-winning primetime programming across 55 countries. RTL Group is also one of the world’s leading independent distributors outside the US, with rights to 19,000 hours of programming in 150 countries worldwide.
Radio: RTL Group’s radio stations reach millions of listeners each day. The flagship radio station is RTL in France. In addition to the market leader, RTL Group also owns the two music stations RTL 2 and Fun Radio in France, as well as radio holdings in other European countries.
European pioneer in commercial broadcasting
The company’s history dates back to 1931 when the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion (CLR) was founded. As a European pioneer, the company broadcast a unique programme in several languages using the same frequency. On 1 July 1954, the CLR became CLT (Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion). In 1955, the company launched Télé-Luxembourg, a TV channel in French language, broadcast to North-East of France, Luxembourg and South of Belgium. This makes Télé-Luxembourg, together with ITV in the UK, the oldest European commercial TV channel.
RTL Group itself was created in spring 2000 following the merger of Luxembourg-based CLT-UFA and the British content production company Pearson TV, owned by UK media group Pearson plc. CLT-UFA itself was created in 1997 when Bertelsmann AG (shareholder of UFA) and Audiofina (shareholder of the historic Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion, CLT) merged their TV, radio and TV production businesses. Today, Bertelsmann’s owns a 90.3 per cent shareholding in RTL Group. The remaining 9.7 per cent of RTL Group is publicly traded on the Brussels and Luxembourg stock exchanges.
Historical partner of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
In February 2007, the Luxembourg Government, RTL Group, CLT-UFA and Bertelsmann AG signed a new concession contract that will run until the end of 2020. The contract is the framework for the historical partnership that has developed over time between the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and RTL Group. Under the terms of the contract the Luxembourg Government will continue to make internationally awarded television and radio frequencies available to CLT-UFA, a subsidiary of RTL Group. In return, CLT-UFA will continue to produce and finance a public TV programme for the Grand-Duchy. For the full term of the contract the headquarters of RTL Group, of CLT-UFA and those of its technical services provider, Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE), will remain in Luxembourg.
For more information