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The Media, the Makers and the Money

TV business models in the digital age


MAZvideo journalist Ulrich Crüwell




De Posch

Fight for TV customers





Consumers' favourite usage of internet and common TV




Bahn TV

»The future of journalism lies in moving pictures.« Video journalist Ulrich Crüwell from Berlin started the pilot project »MAZvideo« for the »Märkische Allgemeine« newspaper in Potsdam in 2008, as editor, camera man, cutter and producer. Whilst the newspaper publishers are suspiciously observing the online activities of the public broadcasters, they themselves have, with their TV appearances, caught the attention of the state media authorities which are now demanding broadcasting licenses for these.

The television business is experiencing a major shake-up – it is no longer only the classic TV channels which are providing consumers with typical TV content. Today, cable network and satellite operators as well as mobile providers are introducing new business models and are even becoming competitors themselves. Public as well as private broadcasters offer mobile users slimmed-down versions of their contents as »Made-for-Mobile« programmes, for example news programmes in 100 second format. In addition to this, there are also programmes produced especially for mobiles.

TV online

The digital revolution is changing television consumerism and Erik Bettermann, Director General of Deutsche Welle and DW-TV, is convinced of this: »The production and distribution of media content is changing rapidly.« Audio and video sites in the internet enable television which is independent of time and which involves media users. This also has a special significance for the public providers which are still financing themselves primarily from TV license fees. Now, the public broadcasters are increasingly being forced online, yet not because of the financing – online advertising is taboo for them. The main target group of their online activities is a young audience which can, today, hardly be found in classic public television.

Dependant on advertising

Here, a conflict with private television broadcasters and newspaper publishers is pre-programmed – these are, for example, urging for a time limit on the online programmes of the ARD and ZDF Mediathek television services. For private providers, it is the financial interest in the online business which is decisive. In contrast to the public broadcasters, these are able to break up programmes with advertising, particularly with call-in formats after 8.00 pm, where revenue also comes from telephone charges or from customer teleshopping.

Advertising revenue is, nevertheless, stagnating which is, to a certain extent, attributed to the growing number of DVD and hard drive recorders. If time shift television and the subsequent cutting of advertising breaks, without loss of a quality, reduces advertising coverage, private providers will frantically look for new ways of making themselves more independent of financing which comes solely from advertising. The online platforms of the private broadcasters offer a way out, whereby cross promotions and synergies with internet services can be used. For the advertising industry, the internet is also becoming increasingly important as an advertising platform compared to TV advertising. Online advertising can be used more specifically and internet protocol enables a much more precise calculation. You can see exactly what advertising reached whom, and when, much more clearly in the worldwide web. In addition to this, direct contact with the customer, right up to e-commerce, is also possible.

New competitors

The world of television is gaining many new aspects through the internet. IPTV, in various forms, is increasingly winning over the viewers of classic providers. More and more digital sub-channels are being created which are orientated towards special target groups or regions. This can be seen with, for example, the nine pay TV channels of the Berlin based MTV Networks Germany like MTV Entertainment. To this also come digital programmes from providers who, until now, had nothing to do with television but which have, meanwhile, developed into unexpected competitors. Newspaper publishers are now also producing their own video clips for their internet sites – for example the Berliner Verlag. Today, almost all football associations of the premier federal league have their own online TV channel for which a fee must usually be paid. IPTV and web TV also offer unimagined possibilities for the marketing of big firms. Big automobile manufacturers such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have, for example, their own online offers which they use specifically for advertising purposes. On the internet it is not only the boundaries between the different media which become blurred but also those between TV journalism and advertising.

User generated contents

Video-on-demand enables content to be brought to the television screens or downloaded from the internet. The decisive result of this development is that the viewer no longer consumes when the content is supplied but, more so, that the content should always be available for him. Yet this is, by far, not where the development ends as all media users are also able to circulate their own content online which means that the consumer also becomes, to a certain extent, a TV provider.

Symptomatic of this development is the popularity of web portals which were partly initiated by established TV providers, for example »Club Nick« of the Berlin based childrens' programme »Nick« which offers games and videos for children from 8 to 11 years.


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