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