RTL Group Annual Report 2023

Our role
in society

As a partner of the Special Olympic World Games
media alliance, RTL Deutschland had a strong
presence at the Special Olympics in Berlin,
which is the world’s largest inclusive sports event.

We believe...

... video is the most complete medium. It engages our minds and captures our hearts. It demands our attention and inspires our imagination. There is no better way to tell a story. Since our first radio broadcast in 1924, and through the growth of video and digital, our aim has always been to entertain, inform and engage our audiences. This is our role in society.

Our clear set of brand principles defines who we are, what we do and what we stand for. RTL stands for entertainment, independent journalism, inspiration, energy and attitude with one overriding purpose: just inspire. We respect people, nature and the communities we serve. We take a stand and embrace diversity and cohesion, sustainability and humanity. We think internationally and act locally.

Viewers, listeners, digital users

Every day, millions of people access RTL Group’s content on television, streaming services, digital platforms, print magazines and radio across an ever-growing range of devices. This audience is at the heart of what we do.

Over the years, we’ve grown by covering the events and issues people care about – and we’ve never strayed from our commitment to be refreshingly different and always close to our audience. The millions of people who turn to us each day for the latest news must be able to trust us. A healthy, diverse and high-quality media landscape is the foundation of a democratic and connected society, which is why our local CEOs act as publishers and do not interfere with editorial decision-making or restrict the independence of our editorial staff. Our editors-in-chief apply rigorous ethical standards and ensure compliance with local guidelines. This allows our journalists the freedom to express a range and balance of opinions that reflect the diverse societies we serve.

Since the early 1990s, we’ve been building families of TV channels, radio stations, digital platforms and streaming services. They offer our audiences a vast range of high-quality entertainment and information programmes that people from all demographics and circumstances can enjoy. We also take great care to protect all media users – especially minors. For example, our newsroom guidelines contain a framework for how we handle the personal rights of minors with sensitivity.

We Are Era celebrated the best of the best
in Germany's content creator scene at the
VideoDays Festival.

The creative

We succeed in entertainment by building inspiring environments where creative and pioneering spirits can thrive. Our broadcasters and streaming services commission content from production companies or their own in-house producers. Our international production company Fremantle commissions scriptwriters, artists and many other creatives, and our talent agency and digital studio We Are Era showcases young video talent.

To enhance our creative output, we continue to develop strategic alliances and partnerships. Within the Bertelsmann Content Alliance, RTL Group companies work closely with other Bertelsmann companies on several content cooperation projects – not only adding value and a competitive edge, but also aiming to attract fresh new artists and creators. In 2023, the Bertelsmann Content Alliance collaborated with UFA on the launch of the series Gute Freunde – der Aufstieg des FC Bayern (Good Friends – The Rise of FC Bayern). The internal Programme Synergy Committee (SyCo) – part of a Group-wide network of SyCos spanning Sales, Streaming, Data, Tech & Broadcast, and Social Media – also provides space for RTL Group’s business units to come together on a regular basis to discuss content cooperation, format cases, local adaptions, internal pitches and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We also continued to innovate in the market by expanding RTL+ to become an all-inclusive entertainment app, which bundles video, music, podcast, audiobook and magazine content in one single app. In 2023, Sky Deutschland and RTL Deutschland announced a strategic content partnership to offer German viewers access to more live sport. The innovative partnership is unique in the German TV market and a major step for the all-inclusive entertainment promise of RTL+.

Whether we buy a programme from a production company or create one ourselves or within a partnership, the production of quality content requires substantial investment. Our ability to recoup this investment is grounded in our exclusive rights to show and distribute the programme in a particular geographic area.

RTL Group’s broadcasters’
programme spend in 2023*

* based on fully consolidated businesses; figures include broadcasting and streaming services

Successful programmes attract large audiences that, in turn, attract advertisers who pay us to show their advertisements. This cycle ensures production companies and other creators are suitably rewarded, so they can continue to develop new, entertaining and compelling content.

Maintaining the integrity of this cycle is crucial, which is why copyright is the lifeblood of our industry. Effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights are especially important in a digital world, where people can watch whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. Without this protection and enforcement, the rewards to creators would fade away – as would their creativity. Our unwavering commitment to copyright is therefore one important way we add value to society.


Our business is based on talent. We depend on the creativity and dedication of our employees, so we give our people the freedom to create.

With a unified RTL employer brand, we want to be the employer of choice, attracting and retaining the best talent. To help us achieve this, we offer attractive salaries and other financial incentives, plus a wide range of training and coaching to help our people develop both personally and professionally. We foster a fair, flexible and inspiring work environment that encourages a healthy work-life balance.

The Covid-19 crisis has deeply changed the world of work. The balance between working in the office and remotely is a relevant step to continue offering flexibility and efficiency for those employees whose functions do not require on-site presence.

With a diverse audience, we need to be a diverse business. To remain an attractive and successful employer, we reflect the audiences we entertain, and so we embrace workplace diversity in gender, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic status. We offer equal opportunities and recognise everyone’s unique value, treating each person with courtesy, honesty and dignity. In our Diversity Statement, we reinforce our commitment to equal opportunities and non-discrimination throughout all RTL Group companies.

In 2023, Fremantle continued its partnership with The TV Collective on the Breakthrough Leaders programme in the UK, supporting 150 black, Asian and minority-ethnic future leaders. In Sweden, Fremantle’s leadership team is participating in an external mentoring programme, All of Us, for young people of colour in the creative industries and supporting the WomenUp programme, which consists of 40 women and their mentors and addresses the female leadership gap. In Germany, RTL Deutschland initiated its second Diversity Week, placing people with disabilities at the centre of its content. As a partner of the Special Olympic World Games media alliance, RTL Deutschland included coverage from the world's largest inclusive sports event in its Diversity Week campaign.

UFA joined forces with
Arvato Systems to take
part in Christopher’s Street
Day (CSD) in Cologne –
one of the most popular
pride parades in Germany.
In 2023, the motto was
“Space for All!”.


Television and video offer the most effective forms of advertising. TV remains the dominant ingredient in the advertising mix, with its ability to reach mass audiences. It establishes the key message of a major advertising campaign in a brand-safe environment, which then resonates across other media. We continue to take action to expand our position in the rapidly growing markets for addressable TV and online video advertising.

Television and video advertisements work best when they tell interesting, informative stories that connect with viewers’ emotions. Together, high-quality programming and engaging advertisements are the basis for successful free-to-air broadcasting and an important factor for streaming. Advertising helps shape people’s lifestyles, guides their purchasing decisions and keeps the global economy moving. It also fosters media neutrality – an essential ingredient of a democratic society. Our free-to-air TV channels are mainly financed by advertising.

Advertising remains a major contributor to economic growth – and a Europe without advertising would be less affluent, informed and competitive. Advertising different products and services gives consumers choice and can encourage the competition and innovation that maintain that choice.

RTL Beach – a Total Video event from
RTL AdAlliance – took place at the
Cannes Lions International Festival of
Creativity in 2023 focusing on linear TV,
content and creativity.

We also help our advertising clients with their environmental ambitions. Our German advertising sales house Ad Alliance joined the Green GRP initiative, with the aim of offsetting campaigns’ carbon dioxide emissions. M6 Publicité in France continued to create carbon-neutral advertising slots and offers. The ‘Comportements Responsables’ (Responsible Behaviour), for example, highlights commercials from brands that meet one of eight responsible shopping behaviours.


As a leading entertainment company across broadcast, streaming, content and digital, we have social responsibilities to the communities and audiences we serve. These include raising awareness of important social and environmental issues, particularly those that might otherwise go unreported or under-funded. We do this through TV and radio reports, publishing, magazine programmes and series, and on many digital platforms. We are well aware of the care and responsibility we must take as both an opinion former and information provider.

Project sponsor Wayne Carpendale
visits Tanzania on behalf of
Stiftung RTL – Wir helfen Kindern.

RTL Group's flagship fundraising events
(RTL-Spendenmarathon/Stiftung RTL
in Germany and Télévie in Luxembourg)
raised €23.3 million for charity in 2023.

We give back to our communities by using our profile to raise public awareness of, and funds for, important social issues. We provide free airtime worth several million euros to charities and non-profit organisations to enable them to raise awareness for their cause. Since 1996, the annual RTL-Spendenmarathon in Germany has raised more than €286 million for children in need. A total of more than €20 million was donated during the 2023 RTL-Spendenmarathon.

In 2023, we raised €1,639,570 through our Télévie charity events in Luxembourg. The donations support scientific research to fight cancer – particularly leukaemia. We also support many organisations and projects that help sick or disadvantaged children and young people in Hungary, the UK and France. In 2023, the German actor and moderator Wayne Carpendale presented the ‘School of the Future’ project at the RTL-Spendenmarathon, based on his first-hand experience of the tragic situation of children in Tanzania. The collected donations are now used by the Stiftung RTL – Wir helfen Kindern foundation to finance new schools and community centres in Tanzania.


Whale with Steve Backshall,
produced by natural history giant
True To Nature Productions and
distributed by Fremantle, uncovers
the truth about whales and dolphins
in the world's three largest oceans.

We work hard to combine our business success with responsible action to protect the environment. Conserving resources and protecting the climate are key challenges in today’s society. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment by reducing our energy use and the direct and indirect emission of greenhouse gases. We aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, including both company-related emissions and emissions from the production of our programmes and products. The goal is to reduce the Group’s total emissions by more than 50 per cent compared to the 2018 baseline. As of 2030, RTL Group will offset all remaining emissions. In 2023, we continued to work intensively with our Group-wide Climate Task Force on environmental issues, such as implementing greener productions to reduce our carbon footprint. At Fremantle, over 50 shows complied with the standards required by Albert, a global carbon calculator that helps production companies measure their environmental impact, and were therefore certified as Sustainable Productions in 2023. In Germany, more than 60 of RTL Deutschland’s TV productions have been produced with environmentally friendly standards since 2022. RTL Deutschland is also working on a structured approach to decrease the product carbon footprint of its magazines. In France, Top Chef, which has been broadcast on Groupe M6’s channels since 2010, was the first prime-time entertainment programme in France to receive an Ecoprod Label in 2023 – an important recognition of the work and commitment towards sustainable production practices of Studio 89, a subsidiary of Groupe M6.

RTL Deutschland launched
its theme week ‘Packen wir’s an’
(Let’s do it!) with a marketing
campaign focusing on the
topic of conscious consumption.

In addition, we use our scale and reach to draw attention to environmental issues. Since 2019, RTL Deutschland is organising regular sustainability weeks to promote socially relevant topics and a sustainable future. Groupe M6 also provides extensive on-air, online and social media coverage to put environmental topics in the spotlight.