ARD & ZDF as Netflix rivals: Hundreds of millions for streaming attack

When we think of the public service, then most likely the thousandth crime scene infusion, shallow soap operas, hits with Helene Fischer and, with a little luck, football. ARD and ZDF are trying their luck in a new field: streaming.

The media libraries of the two German broadcasters have not just been around since yesterday, but for ARD chairman Kai Gniffke the signs are pointing to an attack.

As a media group to victory

In an interview with the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Gniffke explained his vision:

In my vision, ARD will become a media network that combines quality journalistic content with first-class technology.

He wants to have achieved this goal by the end of the decade. What does that cost? Several hundred million euros. Gniffke is clear that he has the money not just on top receives. He sees the solution in an alliance of forces.

A marketplace for all German media. The point is to create a media infrastructure that has the chance to break the power of social networks and the big platform operators.

Big words from a big German institution, but can ARD also swallow what it has bitten off? In Gniffke’s statement, it sounds as if you don’t just want to tackle Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Co., but also Twitter and Meta – daring. It seems as if you don’t really know what the public broadcasters actually want.

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How is such an upheaval supposed to succeed?

Creating the basis with technology

Gniffke sees a large part of the work in the virtual hands of artificial intelligence. This is intended to recognize fake images and videos and provide digital watermarks for protection. In general, journalistic work should be significantly simplified as a result.

AI is all well and good, but how is that supposed to help in the large-scale attack against streaming providers?

Gniffke emphasized that one would like that relevant become a provider. The interview makes it clear that this is not just about films, series or entertaining content. It looks as if you want ARD, ZDF and the like relevant make for a new target group. It is doubtful whether that will be enough to stand up to Netflix in terms of viewership.

News and good journalism are extremely important, but that alone should not help ARD to win. Wouldn’t your own news network be the better solution?

Dear money

The public broadcasters are financed mainly from the broadcasting fee. This is currently 18.36 euros per month per household – regardless of whether you use their program. In times when streaming providers are turning the price screw, a horrendous amount:

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By the way: The contribution period ends in 2024. From 2025 we can expect a higher contribution.

As noble as Gniffke’s idea is, it remains to be seen whether it will work out in the end. Digital natives do not get their information, news and journalistic contributions from streaming services, but directly from the network. So how do we become relevant without digging even more into the wallets of the population? Especially when we’d much rather pay for entertainment than news.

uncharted territory Deutschland

The fact that people in this country struggle with digital development has been a statement since ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel at the latest Internet is new territory visible to almost everyone – and the statement was already made in 2013.

Broadband expansion is another topic that has occupied us for years. Or that mobile phone providers are diligently throttling volumes, although surfing in other countries has long been unlimited.

We can rightly be skeptical about ARD’s vision.

ARD and ZDF against Netflix and Disney: an unequal fight, isn’t it? Do you think public broadcasters can stand up to international streaming services? Could you possibly create a niche that the others cannot fill? Or is it wasted love? Let us know in the comments.

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