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RTL looks to build cross-media streaming giant – Digital TV Europe

Broadcaster RTL Deutschland’s plan to build a wider streaming offering encompassing music, podcasts and other content as well as video will create a unique offering that rivals will struggle to match, according to Matthias Dang, co-CEO of RTL Deutschland and CEO of Ad Alliance.
Speaking on a panel session at the ANGA COM event in Cologne yesterday, Dang said RTL wants to create a single bundle of video, music and podcast streaming offerings in the second half of this year. He said there is “almost no other media and publishing house that can do this”.
Matthias Dang
Central to this vision is RTL’s acquisition of publishing house Grüner + Jahr. The broadcaster has appointed Grüner + Jahr managing director Oliver Radtke to its board and made him responsible for combining RTL with the publishing outfit.
RTL Group CEO Thomas Rabe has said that the combination of the pair would create “Germany’s first cross-media champion”.
Dang said that the group was making a big bet on this combined offering, but that the move was justified by in-depth market research.
He said the bundle would have several stages, starting with a video-only offering. He said the SVOD service had attracted three million subscribers in just three years for RTL+.
“That shows we succeeded in doing something and [that success] was not a matter of course,” he said.
Dang said that RTL is a “hybrid company” and free TV remains important to it. “I believe linear TV will be around for the next three to five years and after that you need a crystal ball,” he said.
Dang said that RTL did not intend to set itself up as a platform operator in its own right.
He praised Vodafone Deutschland and Telekom Deutschland for being open platforms, whereas Sky was less so.
Speaking on a separate panel session at ANGA COM, Henning Nieslony, co-managing director of RTL+, compared what RTL was attempting to the ‘super-aggregation’ strategy of service providers such as Deutsche Telekom, with which RTL has a streaming partnership that has helped fuel the growth of RTL+ over the last year.
“Super aggregation is something that is done by Deutsche Telekom. We are trying to do our own [variant] and we will see if it works,” he said.
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