Stephan Schmitter will be the new CEO of German broadcasting giant RTL Deutschland on January 1, 2024.
Schmitter will add CEO responsibilities to his current duties as Chief Content Officer at RTL. As CEO, Schmitter will be responsible for RTL Deutschland’s broadcast business in Germany, including the free-to-air channels RTL and Vox, the streaming service RTL+ and the company’s publishing business Gruner + Jahr.
“Stephan Schmitter lives and embodies RTL,” said Thomas Rabe, CEO of the parent company RTL Group. “This year, RTL was the only main broadcaster in Germany to be able to increase its market share in the core target group. Vox became the second most popular commercial channel and our family of channels significantly expanded its market leadership. At the same time, we continued the growth of the trajectory
Our streaming service RTL+, which currently has around 4.7 million subscribers.”
In fact, RTL is struggling with a persistently weak television advertising market in its core market of Germany. RTL Group last week reported a 6.9 percent drop in revenue from January to September 2023 to 4.66 billion euros ($4.98 billion), a decline largely due to poor advertising sales. RTL Group now expects TV advertising revenue, its main source of revenue, to decline by a mid-single-digit percentage in the second half of 2023 and that Fremantle’s full-year revenue will be lower than expected.
RTL’s streaming business RTL+ is a bright spot. Subscriber numbers to its SVOD services – RTL operates the RTL+ platform in Germany and Hungary as well as the Dutch service Videoland – rose more than 30 percent year-on-year and streaming revenue rose 21 percent in the first nine months of this year. But streaming is still a money loser for RTL, which doesn’t expect its SVOD business to become profitable until 2026.
However, Schmitter said he was optimistic that RTL could turn things around.
“I am confident that we have everything we need to continue to transform our business at great speed and from a position of strength,” he said in a statement. “Our goal is to have, alongside outstanding colleagues full of creative power, leading brands of all genres that move and inspire our audience in Germany.” And I believe that we have the courage to act decisively in a highly competitive environment.”