RTL Group

RTL Group S.A.
Traded as FWB: RRTL
Industry Mass media
Founded 11 May 1920 (1920-05-11)
(as Société Luxembourgeoise d'Études Radiophoniques)
30 May 1931 (1931-05-30)
(as the Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion)
5 July 2000 (2000-07-05)
(as RTL Group)
Headquarters Kirchberg, Luxembourg
Key people
Thomas Rabe (Chairman)
Bert Habets (CEO)
Elmar Heggen (CFO)
Products Television, radio, broadcasting, cable and content production
Revenue €6.373 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
~9,263 (2016)[2]
Parent Bertelsmann (75.1%)
Website www.rtlgroup.com

RTL Group is a Luxembourg-based digital media group with interests in 61 television and 30 radio stations in 10[3] countries. The group operates TV channels and radio stations in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, and Croatia as well as production companies throughout the world. It is majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann. Its shares are quoted on the MDAX stock exchange in Germany.

It is one of the world's leading producers of television content, such as game shows and soaps (particularly through its ownership of London-based FremantleMedia), including The X Factor, Pop Idol, Good Times, Bad Times, The Price Is Right, Family Feud and The Bill.

RTL originally stood for Radio Television Lëtzebuerg (in Luxemburgish), Radio Télévision Luxembourg (in French) or Radio Television Luxemburg (in German); with its English translation of the abbreviation as Radio [and] Television of Luxembourg.


RTL Group's history dates back to 1924 with a single radio station operated from a private home in Luxembourg. In 1931 CLR or Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion, which operated Radio Luxembourg, was founded. CLR was one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950. RTL Group is still an EBU-member under a previous name: CLT Multi Media. In 1954 it was renamed CLT or Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion and started television broadcasts. In 1997 it merged with Hamburg-based UFA Film- und Fernseh-GmbH (successor to the pre-1945 UFA), a subsidiary of global media conglomerate Bertelsmann to create CLT-UFA. In 2000 it merged with the former Pearson Television division of Pearson PLC and became RTL Group. As of January 2014, Bertelsmann owns a 75.1% stake in the publicly listed company.

One of the reasons for RTL's early success was that Luxembourg allowed commercial radio and TV stations long before other European countries. This flexibility enabled RTL to transmit to other countries (such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands) in their own languages. Many British radio presenters began their careers on Radio Luxembourg before moving to the BBC and to commercial broadcasters in the UK. In the 1970s, Radio Luxembourg's English-language audiences declined as a result of new music stations in the UK, and the service ceased broadcasting in the early 1990s on the Astra 1A satellite, often referred to as the Astra Satellite, as SES only operated one satellite originally. Radio Luxembourg relaunched in November 2005 and is currently available online at www.radioluxembourg.co.uk and on Digital Radio Mondiale. A sister station, Atlantic 252 was a long-wave radio station jointly run by RTL Group and Irish broadcaster RTÉ. It ceased broadcasting live on December 20, 2001.

RTL is a member of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) consortium of broadcasting and Internet industry companies that is promoting and establishing an open European standard (called HbbTV) for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast TV and broadband multimedia applications with a single user interface. RTL Television (Germany) has been operating HbbTV services since 2010.[4] a

In 2014 RTL Group bought a controlling interest in StyleHaul, a YouTube fashion platform. RTL raised its stake in StyleHaul to 93.6% for $US107 million.[5]

RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video and is ranked among the top global players in this segment. Since 2013, RTL Group has made key investments in several multi-platform networks (MPNs) such as BroadbandTV, StyleHaul, Divimove and, most recently, United Screens. Additionally, RTL Group invested into advertising technology, namely video ad serving platform SpotX in the US and monetisation platform Smartclip in Europe as well as the investments accounted for using the equity method: Clypd, a pioneer in programmatic TV, and VideoAmp, a platform for cross-screen data optimisation. In 2017, RTL Group decided to combine SpotX and Smartclip to create one integrated ad-tech company by the end of 2018, to launch the platform across the Group’s operations and to scale it up with further acquisitions and partnerships.

Television stations

Former stations

  • RTL 7, a Polish-language satellite television channel was sold in December 2001 to TVN owners ITI and became TVN 7.
  • Media Capital, a Portuguese media group was sold to Prisa on 6 February 2007. Subsequently, RTL's 33% share in TVI was transferred to Prisa.
  • Five (now re-branded Channel 5), a UK TV channel was sold to Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell on 23 July 2010.[6]
  • Alpha TV, a Greek channel with panhellenic transmission. A 66.6% share was sold by Dimitris Kontominas to RTL Group. The shares sold RTL Group to Dimitris Kontominas on 5 January 2012.
  • RTL 24, a defunct Dutch mobile television channel.
  • RTL CBS Entertainment, a Southeast Asia TV channel was sold to Blue Ant Group and renamed Blue Ant Entertainment
  • RTL CBS Extreme, a Southeast Asia TV channel was sold to Blue Ant Group and renamed Blue Ant Extreme
  • BIG RTL Thrill, an Indian channel was joint-venture with Reliance. On July 2014 RTL terminated its joint-venture, and the channel was renamed BIG Thrill.[7][8]

Radio stations

Station followed by RTL's present share amount percentage.


RTL Radio Letzebuerg (100%)
RTL Radio die besten Hits Aller Zeiten UKW 93,3 und 97,0 (100%)
Eldoradio (74,8%)


RTL (100%)
RTL2 (100%)
Fun Radio (100%)


104.6 RTL (100%)
RTL Radio die besten Hits aller Zeiten (100%)
The Wave (German radio) (100%)
Antenne Bayern (16%)
Radio Hamburg (29.17%)
Radio NRW (16.96%)
Radio 21 (17.3%)
Big FM (7.74%)
Radio Regenbogen (15.75%)
Radio Dresden (31.9%)
Radio Leipzig (31.9%)
Radio Chemnitz (31.9%)
Radio Lausitz (31.9%)
Radio Zwickau (31.9%)
Vogtland Radio (31.9%)
Hit radio RTL (30.5%)
Antenne Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (19.7%)
Radio Brocken (53.5%)
89.0 RTL (53.5%)
Antenne Thüringen (15%)
Radio Ton (2%)
BB Radio (unknown)
105'5 Spreeradio (33.8%)
Radio Top 40 (unknown)
Oldie 95 (4.78%)
Rock Antenne (16%)


Bel RTL (44,2%) (but operational control)
Radio Contact (Belgium) (44,2%) (but operational control)
Mint (44,2%) (but operational control)


Onda Cero (19.17%)
Europa FM (19.17%)
Melodía FM (19.17%)

Former stations

  • Rádio Comercial, Cidade FM, Best Rock FM and Rádio Clube and other stations in Portugal, were transferred to Prisa when RTL sold its 33% share in Media Capital group in February 2007.
  • Radio 538, Radio 10 Gold, Slam!FM and Juize were sold to Talpa Holding NV as part of an exchange of shares in RTL Nederland, End of 2011.
  • Radio Luxembourg, London, United Kingdom, English services.
  • Alpha 98.9, a Greek radio station. The 66.6% of shares was sold from Dimitris Kontominas to RTL Group. The shares was return from RTL Group to Dimitris Kontominas on 5 January 2012.


Technical Services

Located in Luxembourg, Broadcasting Center Europe is a European company providing technical services in the fields of TV, Radio, Telecommunications and IT. BCE was founded in January 2000 as a result of the merger of several technical entities of the RTL Group.


Located in Luxembourg, ENEX (or European News Exchange) is an association of leading commercial TV broadcasters around the world which share their news content and production resources.


  1. RTL Group Full-year results 2017, p. 6. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  2. RTL Group Full-year results 2016, p. 52. Retrieved 25 March 2017. Calculated from 4,400 employees who make up 47.5% of the group's permanent workforce.
  3. Rtlgroup :: About Us :: The Group :: Profile
  4. Robert Briel. German RTL to support HbbTV. Broadband TV News August 27, 2009. Retrieved August 30, 2009
  5. "RTL takes control of YouTube fashion platform". Reuters. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. "RTL Group sells UK broadcaster Five" (Press release). RTL Group. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  7. "RTL-Reliance Broadcast terminate Big RTL Thrill joint venture". Indian Television Dot Com. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  8. Frater, Patrick (15 July 2014). "RTL and Reliance ADA Halt TV Venture in India". Variety.
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