The co-Chief Streaming officer of RTL Deutschland – Henning Nieslony – discusses how new streaming platforms can ensure that they are future proof and provides a closer look at the streaming landscape in Germany, especially after the pandemic.
How did the pandemic affect German consumption of video content?
The usage of our news brands experienced a huge increase as viewers wanted to learn more about the pandemic on all platforms. HbbTV for example, has shown a distinct increase through short video usage and extensive reach on all end devices. Another obvious trend was viewers wanting to escape everyday life through entertainment, noticeable on linear TV, but also through a clear demand for SVOD.
How has the rise of CTV changed the streaming landscape in Germany?
Strong sales figures for CTV in Europe and Germany were extremely encouraging. CTV has brought video streaming from PC or laptop to where it belongs – the big screen. Most CTV devices are now connected to the internet in Germany which in turn speeds up the adoption of streaming in general. A large part of RTL+ usage is generated on the big screen. But there are also challenges. For example, my own TV’s app store has over 1000 apps and it isn’t even one of the largest out there. This is interesting as it becomes increasingly important to offer exclusive content via a strong brand to, in a way, de-fragment the market. Thus, we have entered alliances and partnerships with all manufacturers and platforms for content to be easily accessible to our subscribers and viewers.
How will advertising be integrated into RTL+?
Our recent studies show that streaming customers find it increasingly difficult to keep track of choice and costs; how many subscriptions do I have? Where can I find the right content? What are the costs? We need to answer these questions to make RTL+ future-proof.
We believe that a direct-to-consumer bundle of Bertelsmann’s strong brands in the German market, enhanced with competitive music streaming, will help our growth significantly. We will bundle the current RTL+ video content and music offer with our podcast business from audio now, Penguin Random House and Deezer audiobooks and the magazines from G+J.
What are the key assets and features of RTL+ that make it future proof?
There are numerous opportunities to benefit from. In terms of advertising integration, we are talking about a digital product that is focused on the customer and its specific needs. RTL+ has always been a hybrid product, where customers who don’t want to pay a fee can enjoy the content, with ads supported, or subscribe for less advertising and more content. We continue this hybrid model with more possibilities for advertising partners. As we can tell stories on all content forms and genres. I think this is a new era for brands to tell their stories on the big screen.