Fremantle, the global production empire owned by RTL behind shows including American Idol, Too hot to handle it, and We are who we are, suffered a 39% drop in revenue as the coronavirus pandemic wiped out TV shoots around the world.
Fremantle’s current income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITA) was 87 million euros (104 million dollars) for the full year 2020, down 55 million euros (66 million dollars) compared to 142 million euros in 2019, according to RTL’s annual report. Turnover also fell by 14.3% to 1.79 billion euros over the same period.
Fremantle’s financial struggles are not unusual, with other production groups reporting similar trends in recent days. Red Arrow Studios, another German production company, recorded a 12.6% drop in EBITDA to € 42m last year. ITV Studios’ profits fell 43% to 152 million pounds ($ 212 million).
Jennifer Mullin, CEO of the Fremantle Group, said: “By the end of 2020, 90% of all Fremantle productions affected by the pandemic were either fully delivered or back in production. Throughout 2020, our global game shows and our ongoing dramas in particular have weathered the challenges very well and ended the year in line with our performance in 2019.
“Our global footprint has allowed us to increase local script production in 15 territories and offer 54 shows, which is ahead of the 2019 comparison. Despite a year like no other, we celebrated the successes of many new Fremantle shows and formats, including Too hot to handle it for Netflix and has received worldwide critical acclaim for our list of dramas, including Salisbury poisonings, My brilliant friend and Investigation. “