Economy & Politics

RTL Belgium leaves the Luxembourg fold

The financial impact of the covid-19 crisis prompted the turnover of the private channel to abandon the Grand Duchy. After practically 15 years in exile, the group joined the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB) and hopes to be able to receive state aid.

The financial impact of the covid-19 crisis prompted the turnover of the private channel to abandon the Grand Duchy. After practically 15 years in exile, the group joined the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (FWB) and hopes to be able to receive state aid.

(ER) – With the coronavirus crisis, RTL Belgium saw its advertising revenue melt like snow in the sun. In the past three months, the group’s television channels (RTL TVI, Club RTL and Plug RTL) have lost more than 30 million euros according to L’Echo.

In an attempt to limit its losses as much as possible, the group plans to bring the private chain back into the fold of the FWB. History of being able to benefit from the assistance plan for the media and journalists adopted at the end of April by the FWB in the context of the coronavirus crisis.


RTL Group, Neues RTL Gebäude, Kirchberg.Foto: Gerry Huberty

The Luxembourg audiovisual group saw its revenues fall by 3.4% in the first quarter of 2020, to 1.466 billion euros. A fall which is explained by the fall in advertising revenue. Even if the group records record audience ratings in Germany and France.


An agreement will therefore be signed between the two parties, the private group should be able to recover within the framework of this “transfer” state support of nearly 5 million euros. In addition, there is a media assistance plan which will be spread over 4 years and will amount to a maximum of 80% of the financial loss due to the crisis. The sum of 30 million euros is announced by certain Belgian media.

In return, RTL Belgium is committed to maintaining employment but also to strengthening its support for local culture. In a press release, the group welcomed “the government’s will to work to preserve the pluralism of audiovisual information in the French Community”.

As a reminder, it was in 2006 that the private channel went under Luxembourg license. By this operation, it thus intended to escape the regulation of the Superior council of the audio-visual Belgian (CSA) and the more severe legislation applicable in FWB. An “escape” that the CSA has long fought without finding a way out of the file.


Lokales, Politik, Wirtschaft, RTL Radio, TV, Foto: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort

After twelve rounds of tough negotiations, 69 people from RTL Group’s Corporate Center, and not 94 as announced by management in August, must leave Luxembourg. 39 can still choose to be transferred to Cologne.


Like RTL Belgium, the whole RTL Group was hit hard by the economic consequences of the covid-19 pandemic. The Luxembourg audiovisual group saw in particular its revenues fall by 3.4% in the first quarter of 2020. The group announced in August 2019 its desire to relocate part of the activities of its Corporate center from Luxembourg to Germany. As a result of this move, 69 jobs are affected by a social plan on the Kirchberg site.


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