RTL Group Annual Report 2022

Our role
in society

Viva la Diva – Wer ist die Queen? (Viva la Diva – Who
is the Queen?), a German entertainment show
with flamboyant make-up, wigs and dazzling outfits,
celebrates the beauty of diversity and embraces
colourful personalities.

We believe...

...video is the most complete medium. It engages our mind and captures our heart. 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, the natural world and the communities we serve. We take a stand and embrace diversity and cohesion, sustainability and humanity. We think globally and act locally.

Viewers, listeners, digital users

Every day, millions of people access RTL Group’s content on television, streaming services, digital platforms and radio on a 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 news 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.

More than 1,000 visitors
and 400 content creators
gathered for the
VideoDays Festival 2022,
hosted by We Are Era.

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 global 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. We also continue to innovate in the market by, for example, expanding RTL+ to become a unique cross-media entertainment service offering video, music, podcasts and audiobooks.

Whether we buy a programme from a production company, 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.

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.

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 office 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 2022, 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 first diversity week to place LGBTIQ+ people at the centre of its content. On screen, the German RTL+ original film Weil wir Champions sind (Because we are champions) launched, which features nine actors with disabilities and tells the story of an inclusive basketball team.

The documentary Rote Karte statt Regenbogen –
Homosexuelle in Katar
(Red cards instead
of rainbows – Homosexuals in Qatar), with
Jonas Gerdes, Reporter at NTV and RTL Television,
and Timo Latsch, Deputy Head of Sports at
RTL News, addresses the human rights discussion
around the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.


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. 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-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 doesn’t just give consumers choice – it can encourage the competition and innovation that maintain that choice.

In RTL Deutschland's sustainability week
focusing on energy, authors André and
Shari Dietz promoted a new detergent from
Ariel to save energy while washing clothes.

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. As well as continuing to create carbon-neutral advertising slots, M6 Publicité in France created a new advertising offer – Comportements Responsables (Responsible Behaviour) – which 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, 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.

150 colleagues from
RTL joined the Télévie
Challenge in
Luxembourg, raising
money for cancer and
leukaemia research.

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 €266 million for children in need. A total of €41,107,923 was donated during the 2022 RTL-Spendenmarathon.

Project sponsor Michaela May
visits Kenya on behalf of
Stiftung RTL – Wir helfen Kindern.

In 2022, we raised more than €2 million 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, France and the Netherlands. The German actress Michaela May, who is a sponsor of the RTL-Spendenmarathon, travelled to Kenya in 2022 to uncover the tragic situation of children there and call for donations. Deutsche Welthungerhilfe uses these donations to transport emergency supplies to the region and distribute nutritional supplements, hygiene kits and medical products to malnourished children and mothers.


The documentary series Patagonia:
Life on The Edge of The World
which is distributed by Fremantle,
follows explorer and conservationist
Isai Madriz through South America’s
mountainous region of Patagonia.

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, with regards to company-related carbon dioxide emissions, by 2025 and to reach full carbon neutrality by 2030, including product-related emissions. In 2022, 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.

Dirk Steffens, one of
Germany’s best-known
science journalists, speaks
up during RTL Deutschland’s
‘Packen wir’s an!’ (Let’s do it)
themed week, which focuses
on energy-related measures
for a sustainable life.

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. In November 2022, RTL Nederland launched its first themed sustainability week. ‘’Samen Groener’’ (Greener Together) took place across all channels and digital platforms, in order to address the critical topic of plastic pollution.