Examination of Witnesses (Questions 107
WEDNESDAY 11 JULY 2007
Mr Chris Shaw and Ms Sue Robertson
I will not go through the introduction because I think you heard
it the last time round, but welcome very much and we appreciate
you coming. I wonder if I could start by asking who is five
Ms Robertson: We are owned by RTL and they are
in turn 90% owned by Bertelsmann.
RTL is a company registered in Luxembourg?
Ms Robertson: Yes.
And Bertelsmann is
Ms Robertson: Based in Gütesloh, they are
registered in Germany. They are a private company so they are
not listed, whereas, I think, roughly 10% of RTL is publicly listed,
not in the UK but in Europe.
So predominantly you are under private ownership, are you?
Ms Robertson: I suppose you could say that,
yes. RTL do their interim figures and annual reports and are transparent
about their finances.
And RTL has a big portfolio of other media companies?
Ms Robertson: They have got a large portfolio
of other media companies. RTL Germany is one of the largest, and
they have a share in M6 in France, REN TV, in Russia, RTL KLUB
in Hungary and Antena 3 in Spain. They are the largest pan-European
broadcasting company and they have radio interests in France and
And sitting at the head of it is who?
Ms Robertson: Sitting at the head of RTL is
Gerhard Zeiler. He is the CEO of RTL.
But is it a traditional family company?
Ms Robertson: Bertelsmann is a family trust
and the Mohn family Controls the trust ,but the people we most
have our dealings with are RTL and Gerhard. Zeiler who is the
CEO of RTL, he attends all of our board meetings. He is a broadcaster
himself. He used to run RTL Germany, so we are not dealing with
very distant shareholders who do not know anything about broadcasting.
He is interested in the schedules and the broadcasting part of
our role and he understands what we need to do as a broadcaster.
So it is a foreign-owned company?
Ms Robertson: A European-owned company.
A European-owned company; thank you.
Ms Robertson: There is a distinction.
I prefer not to have this debate. What impact does that have upon
the news that you provide? Does it have any impact?
Ms Robertson: Our ownership?
Ms Robertson: No. As far as RTL are concerned
they want us to run a channel that is going to work in the UK.
They are not forcing us to take any programmes or do any particular
types of programming or have any editorial role in terms of what
is on the news or, come to that, in the programme scheduling.
And you take your news service from?
Ms Robertson: We take our news service from
And how much do you pay for that?
Mr Shaw: We pay roughly £10 million for
our news, most of which goes to Sky, but not all of it. Some presenters
we contract directly.