Pandemic continues to weigh on RTBF's finances

Pandemic continues to weigh on RTBF's finances
RTBF's transmission tower in Brussels. Credit: Belga.

The financial impact of Covid-19 continues to impact the RTBF’s financial results, with their annual report for 2021 showing yet another net loss.

Breakdown of the figures

The operating profit of the Belgian public service broadcaster amounted to €4.1 million but ended the year with a net loss of €1.9 million. This is mainly down to a €5.3 million allocation for moving expenses due to the construction of its new Brussels headquarters.

In comparison to 2020, 2021 saw a 3% increase in funding to €308.9 million. the Broadcaster's profit increased by €1.6 million, with advertising up 21% increase to €70.7 million. Total revenue rose 7.2% to €410.7 million.

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"Our finances have improved compared to 2020," RTBF's General Director Jean-Paul Philippot told Le Soir. "But our gross operating profit of €15 million is still below the 20 million target we set ourselves, which is the bare minimum to sustain the necessary level of investment."

Budgeting for 2022

The company does not anticipate reaching pre-Covid financial levels for this calendar year. It forecasts a €1.9 million net loss, similar to that of 2021.

High levels of inflation, according to Philippot, will also have an impact on RTBF's cost structure, since "half of our expenditures come from labour costs." With the corporation also expected to undergo four indexations this year, its salary bill is expected to rise by 8%.

On the bright side, they should expect a successful year in terms of television advertising thanks to the FIFA World Cup airing at the end of November-December.


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