(Typo in last sentence corrected: Dienstleistungs- rpt Dienstleistungs-)

COLOGNE (dpa-AFX) - RTL manager Stephan Schmitter is moving to the top of the television group's German business. He will take over the management of RTL Germany on January 1, RTL Group announced on Wednesday. In addition to his current functions as Managing Director Programming, the 49-year-old will take over responsibility for the streaming service RTL+ and the newly established publishing business Gruner + Jahr.

Thomas Rabe, who is also CEO of RTL Group and CEO of Bertelsmann, has temporarily held the position of CEO Germany since summer 2022. RTL is part of the Gütersloh-based group's portfolio. Co-CEO Stephan Schäfer had to leave in summer 2022. Rabe temporarily moved to the top.

Rabe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur: "I said from the start: My role at RTL Germany is temporary. I was happy to take on this task. But it was clear to me that I would hand it over sooner or later." His goal was to drive forward the transformation of RTL Deutschland, build a new management team and, if possible, develop a successor from this team.

Rabe also said: "I never intended to permanently hold three CEO positions at the same time. I am relieved that I have found someone who I am convinced will fulfill the role of CEO of RTL Germany and that I can then concentrate on the executive positions at RTL Group and Bertelsmann again."

The task at RTL Germany is a transformation task combined with a growth strategy, said the Bertelsmann CEO. It is about the transformation from the linear TV business to streaming and online video. This affects content, technology and marketing. Employees would have to be taken along and integrated.

Like other broadcasters in Germany, RTL has been struggling with the weakening advertising market for some time. Income from advertising is an important mainstay for television companies. Commenting on the outlook, Rabe said that the German advertising market was the weakest in Europe this year. "There are economic and structural reasons for the decline." The manager added: "When the economy as a whole recovers - especially private consumption - the TV advertising market will also pick up again. We therefore do not believe that the negative trend we have seen in recent years will continue in the long term." However, it is too early to say for sure. "It's difficult to plan because advertising customers are booking at ever shorter notice."

Bertelsmann also announced that RTL manager Schmitter has also been appointed to the international media, services and education group's important Group Management Committee (GMC)./rin/DP/mis