Ambitious plans with the ARD media library: “It’s all about content”

If yesterday is to meet tomorrow in the here and now, Hamburg’s warehouse district is no bad place. The good old, still analog ARD unveiled its digital strategy yesterday evening, in which historical warehouses hide under the futuristic co-working space “Factory Hammerbrooklyn”. “Cool location”, Hendrike Brenninkmeyer welcomes the public from the press, science, companies and even a representative of the ProSieben Joyn + portal and holds a poster on which the first one advertises his multimedia libraries: “I do not watch TV”.

As the presenter says, describing an industry meeting under the modern title “SWR Insight,” which she runs through two very complex hours, at the beginning of the year, this was not as well spread across the federal broadcasting network. According to forecasts, in 2030, for the first time people will watch less linearly than digitally. Until then, however, the former will remain a major area of ​​public law, battling for attention with an unstable media library. Kai Gniffke, responsible for the latter as director of SWR, immediately explains where the nine premium-funded broadcasting stations are headed.

We want to be the most successful streaming provider in Germany in five years. SWR Director Kai Gniffke at the ARD Media Library

“We want to be the most successful streaming provider in Germany within five years,” says the former head of “Tagesschau”, adding a small but small detail: “Not only outside Germany, that’s what we are. ” No – it has a wider reach than Netflix, Disney, Amazon Prime, not to mention German competition. Although 16 million users are said to spend four times as much time per month on the ARD media library as they do on RTL +, with an increase of 80% in 2021. due to the pandemic, this is an ambitious goal. But it’s only when Gniffke sends you by rapprochement to his former foster home that you will remain important to democracy. “We can’t spoil it.”

To make it clear how they don’t spoil it, he sent three of his key experts to Hamburg. Bertram Gugel, Maxi Droste and Jonas Schlatterbeck, as Head of Content responsible for technology, surface, content for ARD digital programs, overlooking the “Spiegel” building or the ZDF headquarters opposite, explain how pay TV in 2027. And it is not fundamentally different from today’s, but somehow incomparable.

Mediateka, or tenor, is to be transformed from a playback station into a cross-media portal. And to this end, Jonas Schlotterbeck – a hand in his pants, headphones on his ear – lists five guiding principles, and even slogans, in freedom of expression: radical meaning, deep personalities, love of community, bonding and true closeness. In formats such as “Recycling-Lüge” or “All You Need”, faces such as Carolin Kebekus or Ingo Zamamperoni, series addiction such as “Tatort” or “Rote Rosen” and emotional ties through worlds of experience or daily accompaniment, dramatic a relationship between the sender and receiver, ARD and receiver are created that go beyond supply and demand.

But as the daily ration of traditionally administered television is now declining even in the main target group over the age of 60, new cohorts are needed. Especially younger ones. That’s why Maxi Droste and Bertram Gugel come into play. The former with virtuosity throws marketing terms like Sinus-Milieu, third-party platform, community of interest, or user-centric algorithms, but they mean something very simple: Internet savvy 19-49 age group hard to reach. “That’s where we want to go!” As always, it’s about Instagram and Twitter, identity and passion. But for young people to move from YouTube to ARD, it’s all about tailor-made content. Or, as HafenCity puts it: “It’s about the content.”

Because it needs to be visible, Bertram Gugel gives a lecture on how to structure Internet presence so that Generation Y to Z can find their way there. For this purpose, not only the login is to be personalized within the next three months. His growing team wants to give 18 partners an “internal functional structure of the product user: inside-centric” with over 180,000 content “new rhythm”. Refined search functions, more organic access, easier navigation, automatic recommendations, original offers – everything is professional. “This is how we create,” says Gugel, “the basis of growth”.

Lots of “online first”

And to that end, the principle of exclusivity is not only flipped in such a way that 80 to 90 percent of the content can be seen “online first”, while only events like “Tatort” are linearly preferred. The media center is also desperately looking for qualified employees from all areas of product development, from graphic design to social media, adds content coordinator Schlatterbeck, and refers to the emerging ARD job fair – which will coordinate access to its media center with ZDF access but will remain independent .

Kai Gniffke replies that this independence has just been seriously threatened by the offensive power system on the RBB, joking that it is only there, not inside: “My Learjet, SWR 1, is broken.” a joke, admits the boss who joined, but seriously adds when ARD leaves the interview: “We have to do our job and make it clear to everyone that Germany has the best TV system in the world.” After all, his children wouldn’t have televisions anymore. “They don’t miss it either and are still better informed than I am.” Therefore, the pace of change must be accelerated. The evening in the port of Hamburg shows: ARD is slowly pushing down on the gas.

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