RTL to cut hundreds of roles in German publishing biz shake-up

RTL is consolidating its German publishing arm, as the European network and media group continues to rebuild its assets. More than 500 roles will be cut as the company aims to focus on “core brands” and bring its publishing, TV and streaming businesses closer together.

RTL bosses say the restructuring will result in annual savings of €75M ($80.2M) and that the remaining €80M will be invested in the digital transformation of publishing assets.

Publishing brands Stern, Geo, Capital and Stern Crime are merging into RTL News in Germany. This is due to “synergies with RTL Deutschland’s TV editorial teams” and comes after RTL Deutschland and publisher Gruner + Jahr merged in November last year.

Other publishing brands such as Brigette, Gala and Hauser will remain under RTL’s Gruner + Jahr Deutschland business and “selectively cooperate” with RTL Deutschland’s TV and streaming businesses.

All other titles will be sold or discontinued, and RTL Deutschland is entering into negotiations with co-shareholder Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster regarding the sale of shares in the mag brand Deutsche Median-Manufacturer and evaluating its stake. 11 Freund.

The changes will result in around 500 job losses across corporate functions, IT, publishing and editorial at RTL’s Hamburg base. Another 200 jobs will be transferred to new owners through planned title sales.

RTL has been evaluating its publishing titles in recent months as it faces an increasingly difficult local and international economy. The company has also tried unsuccessfully to secure its TV assets, although planned network mergers in France and the Netherlands have been blocked by authorities. Production arm Fremantle has been tasked with doubling its revenue by 2025 and has turned over $270M in the past two years.

Thomas Rabe, Chairman of RTL Deutschland and Bertelsmann and RTL Group CEO, said: “Given the rapidly changing media landscape and the challenging macroeconomic environment, we have thoroughly reviewed RTL Deutschland’s publishing business in recent months. We decided to focus on the core brands and by 2025, we will invest around €80M in their future development. Our goal is to further strengthen RTL Deutschland’s leading position and journalistic relevance.”

“The combination of RTL Deutschland’s TV, streaming and publishing businesses makes sense. This will generate significant synergies of around €75M annually in key areas such as content creation, ad sales, technology and data and corporate functions. The close integration of our brands and programs offers cross-media reach to our customers and partners, enabling us to reach almost every German household.

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