Fremantle Profit Halves After The ‘Too Hot To Handle’ Producer Was Hit By Coronavirus Shutdowns

Jake Kanter
·2 min read

Fremantle unsurprisingly failed to escape the headwinds of coronavirus, with the international producer behind hits, including America’s Got Talent and Too Hot To Handle, reporting a big drop in revenue and earnings in the first half of 2020.

According to parent company RTL’s results for the first six months of the year, Fremantle’s adjusted EBITA plunged to €23M ($27M), which was down 56% on the €52M ($61.5M) recorded over the same period in 2019. Revenue dropped 14% to €707M ($836M).

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RTL said the declines were “mainly due to fewer deliveries of shows and postponements of productions as a result of the COVID-19 impact on numerous territories.” It added, however, that production has restarted in “most” of the territories in which Fremantle operates.

RTL pointed to creative success stories including Too Hot To Handle, which is produced by UK label Talkback and was described by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos as the streamer’s “biggest competition show ever.” RTL added that The Salisbury Poisonings, made by Fremantle-backed Dancing Ledge Productions, became the BBC’s highest-rated new drama since 2018 and was sold to AMC.

RTL said Fremantle traditionally finishes the year strongly. “Fremantle, usually generates a higher proportion of both revenue and EBITA in the second half of the year due, in part, to the seasonality of programme sales but also to the revenue generated by the distribution, licensing and merchandising business,” it said.

As for the RTL group, a European television powerhouse, its total revenue fell 16.4% to €2.65BN ($3.1BN) in the first half of 2020. Much like Fremantle, RTL’s EBITA plummeted 52% to €258M ($305M).

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