Gütersloh (dpa) – Thanks to the recovery of the advertising markets, Bertelsmann again posted revenue growth in the third quarter.
Between July and September, total domestic sales increased slightly by 1.6 percent compared to the same period last year, as the media, services and education group announced on Thursday in Gütersloh. The publishing group Penguin Random House, the music division BMG and the service provider Arvato also developed positively. At RTL Group, in which Bertelsmann holds the majority, sales in the third quarter decreased slightly. But television advertising, which had fallen dramatically since the pandemic broke out, was performing better than initially expected.
As a result, the drop in sales at Bertelsmann, which has around 126,000 employees, has slowed since the beginning of the year. From January to September, the group generated 12,000 million euros, 6.3 percent less than in the same period of 2019 with 12,800 million euros. In the first half of 2020, the drop in sales was still 8.9 percent. Bertelsmann did not give any information on the earnings. For the first half of the year, the global result was estimated at 488 million euros, 14 million euros below the value of the first half of 2019 (502 million euros).
The decline in the advertising market that many media companies in Germany struggle with was evident in the divisions of the Bertelsmann RTL Group and the Gruner + Jahr publishing house. RTL Group head Thomas Rabe said: “After a sharp drop in RTL Group’s TV advertising revenue in the second quarter of the year, they only fell 2.1 percent in the third quarter, a significantly better development compared to with our previous forecast of minus 10 percent in the third quarter. “Market shares have been gained in the television advertising market and the streaming services TVNOW and Videoland have been expanded.
Total RTL Group revenue fell in the first nine months compared to the same period last year by 11.8 percent to around 4.05 billion euros. RTL has now also given a forecast for the whole year after initially being hesitant to look forward due to the crown crisis. In 2019 RTL had a turnover of 6,600 million euros and earned 1,160 million euros operationally. Assuming the economic recovery continues, sales of around 5.8 billion euros are currently expected, Rabe said. That would be a decrease of about 13 percent. With the result before interest, taxes and depreciation of goodwill (Ebita) adjusted for special effects, the company, which was relegated from MDax to SDax in September, expects a value of around 720 million euros.
For the Bertelsmann Group, CFO Bernd Hirsch said: “In the context of our active Corona countermeasures and the prospect of a strong final quarter, we may appear increasingly optimistic about the outcome for 2020 as a whole.”