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Focus On Germany


Partners in Crime. And Romance, and Entertainment… Red Arrow International is a proud partner to some of the world’s most talented producers… Producers who work across every genre, from crime to comedy, from scripted to formats; and who share our passion for storytelling and desire to see great entertainment travel the world.

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6 On the move


German content goes international

The land where crime pays


How to do business in Germany

The power brokers


Meet some of the key players



Buying for Germany


ProSiebenSat.1’s Ruediger Boess

What are they watching


The most-watched shows in Germany

TV for the next generation


The digital ambitions of leading media companies

An appetite for tech


Digital Germany by numbers

Still ahead of the game


What’s next for Germany’s tech pioneers

An ‘ideal’ place to shoot


NRW is a key location for the German TV industry

29 FOCUS ON GERMANY – April 2016 – MIPTV News Supplement Director of Publications Paul Zilk Director of Communication Mike Williams EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Editor in Chief Julian Newby Deputy Editor Debbie Lincoln Sub Editor Joanna Stephens Contributors Andy Fry, Juliana Koranteng Editorial Management Boutique Editions Technical Editor in Chief Hervé Traisnel Deputy Technical Editor in Chief Frédéric Beauseigneur Graphic Designer Carole Peres © Cover picture: Illustration © iStockphoto.com/ RadomanDurkovic PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT Publishing Director Martin Screpel Publishing Manager Amrane Lamiri Publishing Co-ordinator Yovana Filipovic Production Assistant, Cannes Office Eric Laurent Printer Riccobono Imprimeurs, Le Muy (France) Reed MIDEM, a joint stock company (SAS), with a capital of €310.000, 662 003 557 R.C.S. NANTERRE, having offices located at 27-33 Quai Alphonse Le Gallo - 92100 BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT (FRANCE), VAT number FR91 662 003 557. Contents © 2016, Reed MIDEM Market Publications. Publication registered 2nd quarter 2016. Printed on PEFC Certified Paper


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Quality Entertainment for Everyone From comedy to family entertainment, from series to big shiny floor shows: With its innovative format slate and newly established remake catalogue, WDR mediagroup offers programmes for every target group and slot. www.wdr-mediagroup.com/en

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Ku’damm 56 – Rebel With A Cause, produced for ZDF by UFA Fiction



Germany’s on the move Trade in TV content where Germany is concerned used to be one-way — inwards. And while the country remains an important buyer of product from around the world, today its home-grown shows are attracting attention worldwide. Andy Fry reports


DF ENTERPRISES (ZDFE) has the largest stock of German-language programming in the world and a consistent track record when it comes to selling it internationally. On the eve of MIPTV, for example, it licensed an extensive package of TV movies to Spanish public broadcaster RTVE. Titles include A Summer In..., Katie Fforde, Inspector Ms Heller, Angel

Of Justice, The Mommy Mafia and book adaptation The Ingredients Of Love. “RTVE is a long-standing and important partner of ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) in Spain,” says Fred Burcksen, executive vice-president and chief operating officer at ZDFE: “This new contract confirms the success of our TV movies with Spanish TV viewers and strengthens a successful partnership.”


That deal followed a successful outing for ZDFE at the Asia TV Forum last December, where the company sold 150 hours of children’s content; and a five-series deal at MIPCOM with UK on-demand platform Walter Presents… that included crime series The Team. Not to be forgotten either is that German content has a ready-made market in Austria and German-speaking Switzerland.


German drama highlights Hitler is a 10-hour event series from the producers of Generation War. A UFA/Beta Film co-production for RTL, it is based on the biography Hitler’s First War by historian Thomas Weber. With scripts by Niki Stein and Hark Bohm, the series will shed new light on the most closely examined figure of modern history. Beta Film has already pre-sold the series to French broadcaster TF1. Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto says: “Hitler is one of the most ambitious European TV projects to date and will change the way we see him today.” Rivals Forever - The Sneaker Battle tells the fascinating story behind the global brands Adidas and Puma, set against the backdrop of the rising Nazi regime. Written by Christoph Silber and produced for ARD, the show is distributed by Global Screen, whose head of sales and acquisition, Alexandra Heidrich, says: “Rivals Forever is also a gripping and dramatic family saga, full of love, friendship, mistrust and intrigue that casts a light on the beginning of the women’s movement.” ZDFE CEO Alexander Coridass says: “It’s not really a new trend that German programmes are selling well abroad. We have decades of experience in selling German shows successfully worldwide. However, we are experiencing a new trend in so far as the increasing acceptance of German-language shows in English-speaking territories is concerned. This proves original languages are decreasingly a barrier and that quality of production is what really counts for audiences worldwide.” In terms of the company’s MIPTV slate, Coridass says: “Each of our four main genres has a top highlight. In drama, Ku’damm 56 – Rebel With A Cause, produced for ZDF by UFA Fiction, could turn into a binge favourite with its stunningly realistic sets, costumes and stories. It tells the story of the young women

of the Fifties, their rebelliousness against the small-minded view of a woman’s role in postwar society, and their struggle for a self-determined, feminine identity.” For children aged six to 10, ZDFE has a new animation series called Scream Street (52 x 11 mins), while in factual there is First Flight: Conquest Of The Skies, a powerful docu-drama co-produced by Artemis Film, ZDF and ZDFE about the world’s first motorised flight. “Finally, the star of our believe-it-or-not game show format You Can’t Fool Me! is nature itself and the tricks it loves to play on us,” Coridass says. Global Screen is another German distributor that does well with home-grown content. Recent hits have included The Weissensee Saga, sold to more than 30 territories includ-


The Wanted is Amazon’s first German-language series. It stars Matthias Schweighoefer as a Berlin convention-centre project manager whose life is turned upside down following a mysterious hacking attack. The series, which will premiere on Amazon Prime in Germany and Austria in 2017, is produced by Schweighoefer’s Pantaleon Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Warner Bros. International Television Production. The international distribution plans are not yet clear but, with Warner involved, there is likely to be scope for a pick-up outside Amazon’s core territories.


FEATURE Global Screen. Other factual sales have included Treasures Of The World to Hungary’s MTVA and the Czech Republic’s Prima TV, and My name Is Fleming. Ian Fleming to SRC/RDI for French-speaking Canada.


ZDFE’s new animation series called Scream Street ing Sweden, Lithuania and Latvia. Alexandra Heidrich, head of TV sales and acquisitions at Global Screen, says: “Interest in German drama like The Weissensee Saga is strong, and buyers from the UK, Sweden, France and Eastern Europe have shown strong interest in Capital Power, a stunning Berlin-based political thriller series.” Other Global Screen titles to have done good business include Homicide Unit Istanbul, which sold to TV Barrandov in the Czech Republic and 18 TV movies of the Police: Call 110 series, which were licensed to Iranian public broadcaster IRIB. Two-part crime movie Hid-

den Identity met with strong interest from Eastern Europe, France and the Asian territories, while the Ken Follett adaptation A Dangerous Fortune stirred up strong interest in France, Spain, Scandinavia, Benelux and Eastern Europe. In addition, buyers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have acquired the latest season of Storm Of Love, the popular German romantic telenovela, while RTL cop series Alarm For Cobra 11 has been sold to France, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Germany is also strong in factual series, with CCTV acquiring The Big Five Of Asia from

Red Arrow International’s senior vice-president of global sales, Bo Stehmeier, confirms the basic approach with German distributors when he says: “A large percentage of our programming is English-language shows from the US and UK, but German shows still make up a healthy percentage of our catalogue, alongside Nordic and French drama. In terms of German-language programmes, territories that are particularly active for us include France, the CEE region and Russia, although Russia continues to be a challenge given the economic constraints. Genres that do well are drama, particularly procedural, and TV movies, plus reality/entertainment formats.” Alongside working with Red Arrow’s German production company RedSeven Entertainment, Stehmeier says he also represents shows from German third-party producers. Recent highlights include theatrical movie The Man Cave from Die Film and Constantin Film, and big new TV-event movie Berlin One from Oscar-winning producer Wiedemann and Berg. In terms of trends, Stehmeier adds: “German producers are more conscious of wanting their work to travel and are putting faith in writers willing to take risks. Also, as viewing habits change, international audiences are increasingly open to subtitles. But it’s important to stress that, for us, international has always been an important part of the mix. Shows like The Last Cop have become evergreens in sales and re-licensing, and have taken on new life through local productions in France, Japan, Estonia and Russia. In fact, scripted remake deals for German drama are also an interesting part of our business, with [German legal dramedy] Danni Lowinski recently heading to the Netherlands.” Non-fiction formats are also an opportunity, Stehmeier says: “Our new entertainment show Kiss Bang Love was created in Denmark by Snowman Productions, but the show’s premiere series was produced in Germany by RedSeven Entertainment for ProSie-

“Original languages are decreasingly a barrier and quality of production is what really counts for audiences worldwide” FOCUS ON GERMANY • APRIL 2016

Alexander Coridass


FEATURE “German producers are more conscious of wanting their work to travel and are putting faith in writers willing to take risks” Babylon Berlin is one of the most hotly-anticipated new titles from Germany. A co-production between X-Filme, ARD Degeto, Sky and Beta Film, the crime series is set in Berlin in the roaring Twenties. Created by showrunner Tom Tykwer, it has been given a two-season commitment. Sky will broadcast it in 2017 and ARD in 2018. Beta Film will be responsible for the worldwide distribution. Beta Film director Jan Mojto says: “The first international reactions to the project have been very positive. Babylon Berlin doesn’t need to take second stage to any of the major international series.”


Blender is a six-part series that Tele Muenchen Gruppe is developing with Friedrich Ani, Ina Jung and Dominik Graf. Based on a true story, the action centres on the head of a drug squad who is accused of being involved in the drug world himself. Ani, Jung and Graf say they were looking for a story that was locally anchored “yet could play out wherever people lose control over the power invested in them through their professions, and become criminals”.

ben. It has proved a massive hit and we have already sold the format to nine territories and counting, including to Seven in Australia. The German-grown format My Restaurant Rocks from Good Times Fernsehproduktions is an international hit, with the daily format in its fifth season on Kabel Eins, its fourth season on TF1 France and its second season on Sky Uno in Italy.” Another German company, Beta Film, has carved out a position for itself with the sale of shows including Gomorrah to Italy and Velvet in Spain. Increasingly, however, it is able to offer German-originated content of a similar standard, says Moritz von Kruedener, managing director of German-speaking territories at Beta Film, pointing to the international success of Generation War as evidence of global interest. He adds: “Coming up we have some great German shows like Maximilian, a high-quality period co-production between ZDF and ORF. There is also The Same Sky, a spy story set in the Seventies from Paula Milne. And we have the international rights to The Valley, a six-part thriller that was an original production for German pay-TV network TNT Serie.” In the current climate, von Kruedener believes Maximilian is the kind of show that could continue Germany’s run of hits: “This is an

The Team (ZDFE)

Deutschland 83, written by Anna and Joerg Winger, tells the story of a Stasi spy working in West Germany in 1983. It was an international success, sold by FremantleMedia International to Channel 4 UK, Sundance US, Stan Australia, RTE Ireland, SVT Sweden and NRK Norway, among others. The Wingers are now reported to be working on a follow-up called Deutschland 86, which takes place three years later. All things being equal, there will also be a Deutschland 89, taking the story right up to the year in which the Berlin Wall came down.


Bo Stehmeier

exceptionally high-quality drama — €15m for six hours, with a great writer and director. It’s a very authentic European piece that I think we’ll sell to a lot of territories.” As already noted, Germany is also a key player in the international children’s content business. Patrick Elmendorff, CEO of leading animation firm Studio 100 Media, says his company has built a strong business off the back of German IP. “With our CGI renewals of Maya The Bee in 2013, Vic The Viking in 2014 and Heidi in 2015, we have successfully revived three of the most popular characters on German-speaking television,” he says. “Vic has been sold into almost 100 countries, Heidi has been sold into more than 120 countries and Maya The Bee has been sold in over 160 countries. Our animated feature film Maya The Bee – First Flight, a 3D German/Australian co-production, has also found an audience in more than 160 countries.” Like Germany’s other leading content companies, Studio 100 brokers titles from several major markets, Elmendorff adds. MIPTV headlines will include three CGI animation series: Nils Holgersson, Arthur And The Minimoys and The Wild Adventures Of Blinky Bill. In live action, it is showcasing The Night Watch, Ghost Rockers and The Adventures Of Jolly Lolly.


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Maximilian, a period co-production between ZDF and ORF


The Valley (Beta Film)

“In our experience, series based on literary originals work very well for the German market. There is also a tradition in Germany for curriculum-based content”

Studio 100 CGI animation series Nils Holgersson

In terms of content selling into Germany, the main commercial channels have always been big fans of US-style procedurals, whereas the public channels, ARD and ZDF, are more inclined towards European drama. “Germany produces a lot of its own fiction for the free-TV channels so they do not need to acquire much international drama,” says Jonathan Hughes, sales manager, EMEA north, at all3media International. “The public channels mostly acquire crime series as this is what works well there. ZDF has a Sunday 22.00 slot that plays acquired crime drama. Midsomer Murders [aka Inspector Barnaby] is one of their top shows in that slot and has been for several years. ZDF Neo plays a lot [of crime] too, some re-runs, some acquired specially for them, such as Safe House. ARD has limited slots for acquired drama as they produce a lot of their own. They have 15 slots a year that they buy drama for and recent acquisitions include Hinterland.” Other titles that all3media International has sold include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries


Patrick Elmendorff

to Festival 1, Sony, Netflix and polyband, and The Missing to Sky Atlantic, ZDF and Universal. In terms of other local characteristics, Hughes says: “Book adaptations also sell well across all channels. And subscription/pay channels such as Sky Atlantic, Sony and Fox are always looking for well-made, star-driven drama series.” Maximilian Bolenius, senior vice-president of sales and distribution for German-speaking Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and CIS at FremantleMedia International (FMI), echoes Hughes’ emphasis on crime. While slots for acquired shows on free TV may be limited, he argues that the growth in both the German pay-TV and SVOD markets means “the demand and competition for channel/platform-defining US series is at an all-time high”. He adds: “Another factor that adds to this competition is that a number of US studios have output deals in place with the two big German broadcasting groups, RTL and ProSiebenSat1, meaning pay-TV and SVOD services often only have second or

GermanFilmsMIPTV2016_Artwork 02.03.16 14:52 Seite 1 376_GERMAN FILMS_GERMAN_TV


Series from Scandinavia have been all the rage in recent years, but international buyers are now increasingly focusing their sights on quality TV ‘made in Germany’. Sundance TV and AMC Global teamed up to acquire UFA Fiction’s DEUTSCHLAND 83 which became the first German-language series to air on a US network, while the UK’s Channel 4 scored the highest ever ratings for foreign language drama on British television when it aired the spy series at the beginning of this year.


Amazon Prime and Netflix have been courting German producers for local original series and signed their first deals with actor-producer-director Matthias Schweighöfer’s Pantaleon Entertainment for WANTED and Wiedemann & Berg for Baran bo Odar’s mystery series DARK, respectively. Meanwhile, pubcaster ARD and pay TV platform Sky are backers of the highend series BABYLON BERLIN by the writer/director team of Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Hendrik Handloegten.

TANNBACH © Dušan Martincek

The quality of German TV drama is regularly recognized at international TV festivals: UFA Fiction’s GENERATION WAR won an International Emmy in the TV movie/mini-series category in 2014, while the three-part series TANNBACH was named Best Foreign Fiction at the Shanghai TV Festival and Matti Geschonneck’s TV movie THE WITNESS HOUSE was among the prizewinners at festivals in Banff and New York last year. And 2016 began well with actress Marie Bäumer receiving a FIPA D’Or for her performance in Urs Egger’s TV movie LETTER TO MY LIFE in Biarritz in January.

THE WITNESS HOUSE © Daniela Incoronato

Meanwhile, German Films plays a crucial role in supporting the German TV sector internationally through such activities as organizing pre-selection screenings for TV festival programmers as well as providing financial support for the German Pavilions at MIPTV and MIPCOM and for the subtitling of invited films. LETTER TO MY LIFE © Conny Klein/ZDF/Bavaria Fernsehproduktion


14 ZDFE’s game show format You Can’t Fool Me! third pick. This puts companies like FMI in an advantageous position.” A good illustration of this is that ZDF Neo recently acquired No Offence, which “ticks a lot of these boxes”, Bolenius says. “The series was a big hit for Channel 4 in the UK and for France 2, so we’re confident it will resonate with the German viewers too.” Similarly, Miso Film’s acclaimed Nordic Noir series Acquitted has sold to Sony Entertainment Television and WDR in Germany, as well as to SFR in German-speaking Switzerland. In the unscripted space, Bolenius says there is always a healthy demand for factual entertainment titles due to Germany’s increasing number of digital FTA channels, which include RTL Nitro, Sixx, ProSieben Maxx, DMAX and ZDF Neo. He adds: “Traditionally, this has been a strong genre for FMI, with titles such as Storage Wars Canada selling to RTL Nitro and A&E, Auction Hunters to DMAX and Tattoo Nightmares to Sixx. These titles have resulted in impressive ratings for the broadcasters. In fact, Auction Hunters and Tattoo Nightmares doubled channel averages.”

Other FMI factual titles to be picked up have included The Seventies, a co-production between Tom Hanks’ Playtone, Herzog & Co and CNN, acquired by N-tv and Spiegel Geschichte; and I Am Johnny Cash and I Am Steve McQueen (part of FMI’s I Am franchise) taken by N-tv and Geo TV. Tim Mutimer, CEO of Zodiak Rights, part of the Banijay Group, says: “Germany has proved a lucrative territory where we enjoy strong relationships with broadcasters. Scripted content is currently the cornerstone of the German market, with the country being a big consumer and producer of drama series. Our hot new drama Versailles was pre-sold to SquareOne Entertainment. The show started transmitting on Sky Atlantic Germany this February.” Zodiak also reports an appetite for crime and procedural. “Nordic crime has worked very well for us in Germany, with Yellow Bird productions such as Wallander, Irene Huss and Annika Bengzton all picked up by public broadcaster ARD,” Mutimer says. “Occupied is with ARTE, The Returned has been licensed by


StudioCanal Germany and Being Human US and UK have been sold to Tele Muenchen.” In terms of factual content, the public broadcasters are fans of wildlife titles, Mutimer says. ZDF has bought Alert: Threatened Species, Aliens Of The Amazon, Invisible Nature and Nature’s Keepers, along with historical documentaries including Churchill And The Fascist Plot. “Commercial broadcasters prefer factual entertainment series that combine pace with great storytelling,” he adds. “For example, Hardcore Pawn has been picked up by Discovery for D-MAX, while N-tv has bought SAS: Who Dares Wins and The Operatives. ProSieben has bought Supervet season one and This Old Thing for Sixx, their female-skewed free DTT channel.” Zodiak has enjoyed success in Germany with local adaptations of its formats. “The Best Singers [Sing Meinen Song] is a huge hit on VOX, with season three recently confirmed and music from the show dominating the German iTunes charts,” Mutimer says. “Wife Swap by Constantin Film is a huge success for RTL2, which has aired 19 seasons so far. Big Class Reunion, also produced by Constantin Film, was a success on RTL. As part of the Banijay Group, we look forward to exploring new opportunities now we have a local production arm, Brainpool.” Jonathan Ford, executive vice-president of sales and distribution at Content Television, echoes the positive message about Germany’s appetite for content: “The market continues to be one of the fastest growing and competitive in Europe. Traditional broadcast holds strong. However, there is a noticeable rise in new platforms seeking appealing, proven brands to fulfil their requirements.” Content sales underline the German market’s diverse requirements: “We licensed Faberge: A Life Of Its Own, Atari: Game Over, Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery and Line Of Duty to ZDF. And Dead Rising: Watchtower and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn to RTL,” Ford says. “In addition we licensed The Driver and Halo: The Fall Of Reach to NBC; The Bletchley Circle and The Great Train Robbery to Sony and Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All to ARTE and Bayerischer Rundfunk [part of ARD’s family of broadcasters].” Viewed from a US perspective, Peter Iacono, president of international television and digital distribution at Lionsgate, says: “Local soaps and formats, crime drama, long-running US series and factual-based programming have



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Zodiak Rights’ “hot new drama” Versailles


been the mainstay of schedules for a long time. But now, with the rise in competition from international SVOD services and expanding pan-regional pay-TV services, it has become even more necessary for both linear broadcasters and non-linear platforms to seek out internationally produced series with commercial appeal.” Iacono adds: “Our hit series for E!, The Royals, was broadcast on ProSieben in primetime at the end of 2015. ProSieben committed to a great deal of marketing and buzz, which helped it launch very well, with the second season set to air later this year. Our comedy Deadbeat has also gone to ProSieben, airing on its ProSieben Fun channel as well as on Maxdome and MyVideo. And we have a great partnership with Fox, which was the home of Mad Men and now broadcasts Nashville.” Iacono is especially upbeat about the advent of SVOD: “With Netflix, Amazon, Maxdome, Watchever and Sky, you have five viable SVOD buyers in a very competitive market. Maxdome has really experimented with alternative windowing and alternative ways of watching content, which also engages the younger audience. And although Netflix and Amazon have a growing portfolio of original series for their platforms in Germany, they still heavily rely on licensing US series to bolster

their offering to subscribers. The growing appetite from these platforms has put content suppliers such as Lionsgate in a great position to license new and existing TV.” On the kids front, Studio 100’s Elmendorff says: “An example of a series that was produced out of Europe and which we have sold into Germany is Tashi, based on the beloved Australian children’s books by Barbara and

Anna Fienberg. The series was sold to KiKa and first aired there this February.” He adds: “In our experience, series based on literary originals work very well for the German market, as you can see from our own CGI series. There is also a tradition in Germany for curriculum-based content. The combination of children’s entertainment and the transfer of knowledge works for parents and children.”

Lionsgate’s The Royals, broadcast on ProSieben in primetime

“Scripted content is currently the cornerstone of the German market, with the country being a big consumer and producer of drama series” FOCUS ON GERMANY • APRIL 2016

Tim Mutimer





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The land where crime pays Want to do business in Germany? Get yourself a strong roster of crime drama and know your audience, the experts tell Andy Fry


IVEN the size of the German market and its pivotal role in the international content business, it pays to know what makes the market tick, says Maximilian Bolenius, senior vice-president sales & distribution for German-speaking Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Russia & CIS at FremantleMedia International: “One of the most important things to have to be suc-

cessful in Germany is local knowledge and market intelligence. This feeds into a smart distribution strategy that can incorporate this unique market’s parameters. On-the-ground knowledge can help establish the most consistent and straightforward approach to rights and windowing in a time of increasing competition and blurring lines between categories like catch-up, stacking and box sets.”


Bolenius emphasises the importance of having a diverse catalogue, though he also argues that having strong scripted output sourced from producers across the US, UK and Scandinavia is also vital to success as the competition for this content is a lot higher in Germany than in other markets.” This last point echoes the opinion of all3media International sales manager Jon-

FEATURE We care a lot about getting a superb dub of an international programme

Midsomer Murders. ©all3media International/Bentley Productions

athan Hughes who says: “If you have good crime drama, doing business in Germany is easy as they work really well there — Midsomer Murders is a prime example and has built a solid audience over the years. ZDF is keen on good European crime series and will co-produce if the right project comes about. It’s also very profitable doing business there so the right project can earn good revenue for producers and distributors.” Jonathan Ford, executive vice-president

sales and distribution at Content Television, echoes Bolenius: “Germany has always been one of our primary placement territories for key launch drama and non-fiction programming. But as with all major territories it is a complex and fast-moving market, so it’s essential that we thoroughly research and understand the trends and influences that are impacting it now and will impact it in the future — from those unique to the country to global trends in consumption. In our view, it’s now vital for us to work with our production partners from the outset to ensure the programming we deliver offers a seamless cross-platform experience to viewers.” WDRmg’s head of content Stefanie Fischer emphasises the importance of the way you conduct yourself: “Germans are said to be very punctual and precise. If you have a meeting with a German business partner, it won’t hurt to be on time and well prepared. Then again such national peculiarities may just be preconceptions. When you’re working with professionals from all over the world, the best strategy is to be open-minded, versatile and respectful towards different backgrounds.” ZDF Enterprises president and CEO Alexander Coridass seems to support Fischer’s observations about the precision engineering approach of German firms: “It is certainly important not only to know the products you’re selling and your clients’ needs very well, but to also understand the German market and its particular rules and regulations. The German market is very competitive — it is perhaps the most competitive in the world — and German managers concentrate intensely on two objectives: programme success and product quality. They want their company to be the best, and they want it to have the best products. Managers and their teams are strongly product oriented, confident that a good product will sell itself. But managers also place a high premium on customer satisfaction, and Germans pay close attention to a valued customer’s wishes. Key principles for German


Sebastian Debertin

managers and companies are quality, responsiveness, dedication and follow-up.” Kids channel KiKA’s veteran head of fiction, acquisitions & co-productions Sebastian Debertin also puts store by long-term relationships: “Being responsible for all contract negotiations with national and international partners, I follow a strategy of building long-term relationships with our partners. That takes a lot of time and effort on both sides, but in the long run, it helps by avoiding too many contractual discussions over the years. I want to build relationships that take both sides’ needs into account early, so we are able to concentrate on the content side of co-developing and co-producing great programmes.” Debertin says it is not possible to cut corners when creating a German version of an international show — but stresses that care and attention during preparation can pay off for everyone: “We care a lot about getting a superb dub of an international programme. This isn’t just because the German audience is so demanding when it comes to a perfect German adaptation but also because it gives our international partners the chance to exploit the German version on all platforms and levels.” Patrick Elmendorff, CEO of leading animation firm Studio 100 Media, adds that knowledge of the German audience and their attitude towards television is important: “The average daily time spent on television in German-speaking countries for example is way below the average of other European countries like Italy, Poland or Turkey. Also, television in Germany and the other German-speaking countries in Europe is still mainly influenced by public broadcasters who are bound to represent common values regarding educational and ethical issues. Private TV channels, pay-TV and global networks have been introduced at a later stage and need more time to establish themselves in Germany than they have had in other countries.”



The power brokers

Germany’s biggest media companies are among the most successful and influential in the world, both on screen and in the boardroom. Andy Fry looks at the strengths and strategies of some of the country’s key players Alexander Coridass President and CEO, ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE)


ALEXANDER Coridass calls his company “a global player with a German home base”. He says: “Our business is structured across four genres: ZDFE.drama, ZDFE.entertainment, ZDFE.factual and ZDFE.junior. Each genre is responsible for the acquisition of attractive product and the worldwide sale of their programmes.” Drilling a little deeper, Coridass says: “We manage the largest offer of German-language programmes — originating mostly from ZDF — and, at the same time, a continuously growing portfolio of international productions. The larger part of our turnover comes from international productions. Our catalogue consists of long-running series and mini-series for primetime or access primetime, TV movies, collections and event productions, documentary series and one-offs, and series from pre-school to older children in both animation and live action.” Drama is a particular strength, with the catalogue containing thousands of hours of crime, comedy, romance and event films. Aside from ZDF-originated shows, content from English-speaking countries, the Benelux and Scandinavia also plays an important role, Coridass says, explaining that ZDFE often works with ZDF’s editorial teams to identify premium projects whose production values and “gripping narrative concepts” will appeal to both German and international audiences. “The focus of our acquisitions is on series and event programmes,” he adds. “Our main priority is to have high-calibre productions in our catalogue, no matter what their geographic origins or languages are.” Currently around 60% of ZDFE’s sales volume stems from international programmes. “Any producer out there with a great project looking for a reliable co-production or distribution part-

ner is cordially invited to get in touch,” Coridass says. “ZDF Enterprises was the first company in Germany to back Scandinavian drama series. In all modesty, we played a major role in paving the way for Nordic Noir on a global scale, and we continue to co-produce excellent Scandinavian product for our catalogue.” Ask Coridass to name the next big thing and he says: “It’s already here, I believe. The world now has a hunger for the new drama productions originating in Germany.” He cites ZDFE’s MIPTV highlight Ku’damm 56 – Rebel With A Cause, as well as recent successful series The Team, Blochin – The Living And The Dead and Dr Klein. “We are always delighted at the great enthusiasm with which our drama productions are received internationally,” he adds. In terms of trends, Coridass says: “In a market that is as diversified as the content market nowadays, there is no such thing as a global content trend. It’s mandatory, especially in a highly competitive and technology-driven business such as ours, to never rest on one’s laurels, but to always look ahead into the future. There are clients who need long-running, procedural mainstream series, others who want more edgy and horizontally narrated shows — and digital has different expectations again. Our objective is to always be part of exciting new projects at a very early stage and to work closely with authors and producers right from the very start of development.” He is especially excited about MIPTV 2016: “It will be a particularly important market for us since we are lead partner of the Focus On Germany, which will shine the spotlight on German TV programming and production. We will also host a special conference session on German drama series. As the largest


distributor of German-language programmes, a valued co-production partner of international broadcasters and producers, and a major investor in audiovisual content, we are honoured and delighted to take the opportunity of the Focus On Germany to present our market’s many exciting facets and assets on the international stage.”

“ZDF Enterprises was the first company in Germany to back Scandinavian drama series. In all modesty, we played a major role in paving the way for Nordic Noir”

FEATURE Henrik Pabst Managing director, Red Arrow International

CALLING Red Arrow International a German company does not really capture the extent of its footprint. Describing the business, Henrik Pabst calls it “a world-leading TV distributor of scripted, factual and formatted shows from a global network of in-house production companies, outstanding third-party producers and digital-content partners. We are part of ProSiebenSat1 Media’s Red Arrow Entertainment Group, which is made up of 15 production companies across six countries. With offices in Munich, London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, we sell a library of over 10,000 hours to over 200 territories.” Projects on the slate include scripted shows Bosch (Amazon), Cleverman (ABC Australia/ SundanceTV), 100 Code (Sky Deutschland/ Kanal 5 Sweden/HBO Nordics) and Peter And Wendy (ITV). In formats and factual entertainment, priorities include Married At First Sight (A&E US/Channel 4 UK), My Diet Is Better Than Yours (ABC US), Kiss Bang Love (ProSieben Germany/Seven Australia) and Real Men (DR Denmark). “We are also a major co-producer of entertainment, providing production financing for scripted and non-scripted projects,” Pabst adds. In terms of recent sales highlights, he picks out 100 Code, for which Red Arrow set up a European co-production involving Germany (Sky), Sweden (Kanal 5) and Scandinavia (HBO Nordics). The show has gone on to sell to more than 70 territories including Italy, Denmark, and the UK. Other deals include Billy On The Street, which has sold to around 150 territories, and Married At First Sight USA, which has been licensed to more than 113 territories. As for format deals, highlights include Kiss Bang Love to ProSieben Germany, Seven Australia and seven other territories; Married At First Sight, which has been recommissioned for a

fourth season on A&E/fyi US, alongside recommissions in the UK for Channel 4 and in Australia for Nine; and a local Danish production of A League Of Their Own.” In scripted formats, Pabst reports that The Escape Artist is in production for TF1 France, while local versions of The Last Cop have aired on TF1, Nippon TV and Hulu Japan, as well as in Russia and Estonia. The Red Arrow group also continues to expand aggressively by acquiring talent. It has recently taken a stake in Cove Pictures alongside Smuggler Inc. Cove Pictures is a new scripted and non-scripted production company based in London, Los Angeles and New York and run by Dame Heather Rabbatts. It has also acquired Ripple Entertainment, a new digital-media company in LA that is launching and operating vertically focused networks producing original content with Red Arrow companies, external strategic partners and indie creators. A diverse slate at MIPTV is headed by the second season of Bosch, Icelandic psychological thriller Case, Cleverman and The Romeo Section, a high-stakes thriller about espionage in the Pacific Rim from acclaimed showrunner Chris Haddock (Boardwalk Empire; Da Vinci’s Inquest). Other titles include My Diet Is Better Than Yours and The Hairy Builder. In term of trends, Pabst points to “real reality” and social experiments. “We have responded with shows such as Married At First Sight, which has become the world’s most successful relationship show,” he says. “In scripted, broadcasters are acquiring across a much broader range of genres and are more open to a broader range of subjects. Limited series are more in demand, as viewers are increasingly struggling to commit to longer series given the wealth of new drama and new platforms. Our example here is Bosch.”

“Viewers are increasingly struggling to commit to longer series given the wealth of new drama and new platforms”



FEATURE Stefanie Fischer Head of content, WDR mediagroup


Moritz Polter Executive producer of international TV series, Bavaria Fernsehproduktion

WDR MEDIAGROUP (WDRmg) handles commercial activities on behalf of leading regional broadcaster WDR, which is part of the ARD family. In 2012, it hired Stefanie Fischer, to build up a new unit specialising in international content sales. Fischer had previously worked for Sony Pictures Television and ProsiebenSat.1 on content distribution within the German-speaking territories, and for ZDF Enterprises in international content sales. This combination has proved extremely useful in her current role at WDRmg. “We offer 360º marketing and sales of high-quality WDR programmes, formats and [third-party] content via all distribution channels and platforms,” she says. “So we are attending MIPTV both as a distributor and as a potential co-production and financing partner.” WDRmg’s focus is “kids’ shows ranging from animation to live action”, Fischer adds. “On the one hand, we sell a variety of shows to international TV broadcasters and VOD platforms. Some of the current highlights include Gigglebug, a Finnish animation series based on a successful children’s app, and Trude’s Flatmate, a beautiful and original series from WDR that combines modern animation with classic Fifties drawings. On the other hand, we acquire new shows to expand our catalogue for international distribution. We’re also interested in co-producing or co-financing innovative projects.” Meanwhile, WDRmg’s format catalogue is growing and includes formats for all age groups. Fischer cites The Human Quiz, a knowledge game show about the human body, and The Unlikely Events In The Life Of…, a mix of show, musical and sitcom in which nine comedians explore the imaginary world of their celebrity host.

IN FEBRUARY, Bavaria Fernsehproduktion announced that it is expanding to include new areas of development and production in the international arena. As part of this expansion, managing director Jan Kaiser announced that Moritz Polter would be taking up the new position of executive producer, international television series. “International productions, especially in the series area, are a growth market,” Kaiser says. He adds that Polter, with his broad experience and wide range of contacts, “has produced exciting shows. With him on board, we will develop and grow this new venture for years to come.” Polter, who was previously with Tandem Productions, has worked on Labyrinth, Crossing Lines and Spotless — the Canal+ series that went on to air on NBCUniversal’s Esquire Network. In his new role, he will be responsible for securing, developing, positioning, financing, setting up international co-productions and producing new projects. “The opportunity to build something new in an internationally renowned company is very compelling,” Polter says. “The timing is perfect because the interest in international series and co-productions is thriving. At Bavaria, there’s a sense of renewal as the television market changes rapidly. We want to utilise this potential to inspire viewers.” Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, a subsidiary of Bavaria Film and ZDF Enterprises, is one of Germany’s top-selling TV production companies whose credits include The Rosenheim Cops, SOKO Stuttgart, Polizeiruf 110 and Tatort. But it is not a newcomer on the international scene. One of its most successful exports is Storm Of Love, a long-running soap that has sold to around 20 territories. The difference now, Polter says, is that the company will not be limited to the kind of productions that work on the main German channels. “English-language co-productions, short-run serial dramas and the kind of content that works in pay TV and SVOD are all possibilities,” he adds.

“We are both a distributor and a potential co-production and financing partner”


“There’s a sense of renewal as the television market changes rapidly. We want to utilise this potential to inspire viewers”

FEATURE Peter Limbourg Director general, Deutsche Welle

Nico Hofmann Co-CEO UFA and head of UFA Fiction

DEUTSCHE Welle (DW) — Germany’s international broadcaster — is headed by director general Peter Limbourg. The broadcaster reaches some 118 million people via a range of distribution platforms and is also active at MIPTV via its programme sales division DW Transtel. With content available in English, German, Spanish and Arabic, it seeks to portray Germany as a nation rooted in European culture and as a liberal, democratic state based on the rule of law. Last year was a big one for several reasons. In June, DW launched a new global English-language news and information channel, putting it into direct competition with the likes of BBC World News and France24. Explaining why, Limbourg says: “Deutsche Welle is appreciated around the world as a reliable source for independent, serious journalism. We provide German and European views on global politics. This perspective is becoming increasingly important. Through this and with content covering German culture, economy and science, we differentiate ourselves from other channels.”

“Deutsche Welle is a reliable source for serious journalism” Soon after, DW launched an app that provides its content in 30 languages. At the end of 2015, the app hit the one million-download mark, recording in excess of two million visits a month. Markets where it has proved popular include Tanzania, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “Mobile use is an enormous opportunity,” Limbourg says. “I’m convinced the strong increase across the world in mobile usage accompanies a growing interest in trustworthy reporting and reliable information.” In another key development, West European viewers can now receive DW’s Arabic-language programme via the Astra satellite. “Thanks to [satellite operator] SES, we are in the position to make available a high-value TV programme for refugees and all interested parties from the Arab region. It’s an important goal of ours to convey European values and provide access to reliable information from a German perspective,” Limbourg says.

RTL OWNS FremantleMedia, which owns UFA, one of the best-known names in German TV production. UFA’s fiction output is headed by Nico Hofmann, who has played a pivotal role in the current German drama renaissance. “Until recently, German drama was quite old fashioned and melodramatic,” he says. “But there has been a significant shift in the last few years. We are now making the fast-paced, cinematographic scripted shows that appeal to international audiences.” Generation War was the big turning point, selling to 100plus countries, including the US. It has been followed by another strong performer, Deutschland 83. “A lot more of our projects are set up in a way that should appeal to the international market,” Hofmann says. “We also have high hopes for The Same Sky, a three-part event series written by Paula Milne. And we have an exciting new series called Breaking News, about a young war reporter who becomes caught up in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.” Hofmann says being part of FremantleMedia is helping UFA address the demands of the international market: “We talk a lot to other producers in the group. We are looking at making an English-language series with our Nordic cousin Miso.” A big challenge for UFA is to balance its international activities with its work for German broadcasters: “As a company, we need to find a way to appeal to both the domestic and the international markets. So we are launching a new show called Ku’damm 56 – Rebel With A Cause at MIPTV, which is about changing attitudes to female equality in the Fifties. We think that will have mass audience appeal on ZDF, but also interest international buyers. We’re also making a six-part period drama for ARD called Charite, set in the famous Berlin hospital of the same name.”

“We are making the fast-paced, cinematographic scripted shows that appeal to international audiences”



FEATURE Alexandra Heidrich Head of TV sales and acquisitions/ formats, Global Screen


GLOBAL Screen, the world sales unit of Bavaria Film and Telepool, is one of Europe’s most successful sales companies, with around 15,000 titles and a worldwide network of customers. “Global Screen is always looking for high-end programmes and projects with international appeal,” says Alexandra Heidrich. “We mainly look for fiction series with a strong story arc and international potential, but are equally interested in well-made programmes with standalone episodes. We usually acquire all rights — theatrical, home entertainment, TV and VOD — and go into pre-buys on script basis, as well as acquiring finished productions.” Global Screen handles worldwide distribution for RTL, German pubcasters WDR, SWR, BR, MDR, SRF, HR and RBB, and ARD Degeto. “Thus we represent an enormous, if not even the largest, part of the German TV market, which of course reflects in the share of German-speaking productions in our line-up. But our line-up also consists of English-language content,” Heidrich says.

“Global Screen is always looking for high-end programmes and projects with international appeal” In terms of Global Screen’s MIPTV priorities, she picks out Sherazade: The Untold Stories, “a stunning animated series bursting with suspense, excitement and magic”; and Naked Among Wolves, “one of our most successful TV movies of the last year”, which has sold to the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, France, Benelux, Poland, Lithuania and Austria, among others. The story of a three-year-old Jewish boy who is smuggled into the Buchenwald concentration camp in a suitcase, Naked Among Wolves is “a deeply touching movie that has gained strong interest from all territories”, Heidrich adds. Global Screen also has strong relationships with German producers including Bavaria — one of its shareholders — Ziegler Film, UFA Fiction and Wiedemann & Berg. “We have several promising co-production projects on the table,” Heidrich says. “Discussions with potential partners are under way.”

Rola Bauer Head of production and co-production, StudioCanal ROLA BAUER leads StudioCanal’s production and co-production television initiatives in the US market. StudioCanal includes Germany-based Tandem Productions where Bauer is CEO; the UK’s Red Production Company and Guilty Party; and Denmark’s Sam Productions. As production executive with Canada’s Alliance International Television, Bauer’s first co-production was Sword Of Gideon from a book by George Jonas, back in 1986. A French-Canadian co-production for HBO in the US, such projects were the exception rather than the rule as they are today – putting Bauer at the start of a movement that has led to the extraordinary global output of drama we are now experiencing. Today, as CEO and partner of Tandem Productions with Tim Halkin and Jonas Bauer, she is executive producer of the new one-hour drama, Spotless; crime series, Crossing Lines; and has recently optioned Ken Follett’s Code to Zero, the company’s third project with the international bestselling author.

“There is an unbelievable volume of content coming to the international market” Bauer says that there is an “unbelievable volume” of content coming to the international market “and people want to develop their brands, but they also need to provide the viewers – our audience – with something that is different but at the same time maintaining quality. But corporately we cannot keep up financially with producing it as single entities.” Which is where co-production comes in. “I think more and more people are understanding what it actually means, to co-produce. The definition of it is clearly a local understanding of your anchor network, and a global understanding of your audience. So I think in the next two-to-five years, the creators have an obligation to try to keep our local taste, our local strengths but go to another level. And doing it in a partnership that is going to be financially viable for the people sitting around the table.” Rola Bauer is honoured at MIPTV this year as one of five recipients of the Medaille d’Honneur, which is awarded to senior international executives who have made a significant contribution to the world of television and to the development of the international TV community.




‘There is a trend toward cherry-picking’ Ruediger Boess is executive vice-president group programming acquisitions at ProSiebenSat.1 Media. As such he is one of the key programme buyers in the German market. Here he talks to Andy Fry about his role and his priorities


What channels do you buy for? I’m responsible for negotiating and acquiring films and series licenses for the ProSiebenSat.1 Group. This means that I buy all fictional programmes for our free-TV stations and our pay-TV channels as well as our SVOD platform maxdome. Our free-TV stations in Germany are ProSieben, SAT.1, kabel eins, sixx, SAT.1 Gold, and ProSieben MAXX. ProSiebenSat.1 also runs three basic pay-TV stations: SAT.1 emotions, ProSieben FUN, and kabel

eins CLASSICS. We have a very complementary portfolio: each station has an individual target group. What kind of programming do you acquire? So that we can secure a long-term supply of programming for the Group, we have agreements with nearly all major Hollywood studios, including Disney, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Regency, CBS, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, StudioCanal, and Constantin Film. Comedy is the genre I’m mostly looking for right now. Unfortunately, there’s been little new in the market over the last couple of years. Any obvious changes as the landscape has developed? Due to the competitive market with new players like Netflix, it’s important for us to get exclusive windows when we pick up programming. With drama series, our focus is clearly on exclusivity. So we will put our efforts towards obtaining more exclusive rights for free and pay TV as well as our SVOD platform maxdome. Thanks to our strong market position, we regularly succeed in obtaining these rights. Overall, the number and variety of shows has increased a lot in the past few years, especially when it comes to drama series. Last year there were more than 400 original scripted drama series in the US. I’m quite sure this bubble may burst soon. How do German audiences respond to international content? Which countries’ content works best? US fiction plays best on German TV, in particular comedy shows. On our stations,


shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and Two And A Half Men are highlights. Legal and crime dramas like CSI and Criminal Minds also work well on German TV. These so-called procedurals are not only popular among viewers, they are also favourites among TV stations because they are easy to air. However, there is a trend toward serialised shows, which are more difficult to programme on free TV. This is why we need new ways to attract viewers. Has there been a change in the way content is acquired? We used to have more sheer output deals in the past. That means we had to take all productions from a studio for a specific period of time. That is not common anymore. Today we mostly have volume deals, where you define production categories like movies, drama series, or factual programmes. You then buy a certain amount of these categories. In addition, we have a set of so-called qualifiers for these volume deals. Qualifiers are criteria that have to be fulfilled before we actually accept a programme. This could, for example, include the mandatory number of episodes of a drama series. So I would say there is a trend toward cherry-picking. What is the situation with non-linear rights? In a more competitive market environment, with new players like Netflix and Amazon, costs for non-linear rights are certainly not decreasing. Especially in the VOD market, there are a few relatively new competitors willing to pay overcharged prices. Overall, our budgets are stable but the programme costs for non-linear rights have gone up a bit.



What are they watching? Audience research firm Eurodata has studied the German TV market and has found that the TV audiences in Germany are big fans of drama, big fans of factual and — against current trends — are actually growing in size


ESEARCH into TV tastes across Germany last year came up with few surprises. Crime drama Tatort, which has been running since 1970, was once again the most-watched show in the country. Next came the daily news and current affairs programmes, then more crime

drama, The Eurovision Song Contest and the James Bond movie Skyfall. According to Sahar Baghery, head of global research and content strategy at Parisbased audience research firm Eurodata: “If you look at season 2015-16 you see that more than 300 new German programmes

have been launched and broadcast on TV in Germany and what we have noticed is 48% of them are factual. So in terms of creativity and programme launches, factual is prolific.” Saghar says that viewing research in Germany usually follows a familiar trend. “In terms of the audience’s favourite shows, the top

In terms of creativity and the number of programme launches, factual is prolific FOCUS ON GERMANY • APRIL 2016

Sahar Baghery



programme in Germany was once again Tatort. It was aired on ARD and the rating was 13.7 million. Then came the news and current affairs shows, then a live event, then it was a movie and the 10th most watched programme was [cruise-ship drama series] Das Traumschiff. The line-up is always familiar.” Germany is going against international trends when it comes to viewing hours. “Viewing time increased in 2015 over 2014,” Saghar says. “In 2014 the total individual daily viewing time was three hours and 41 minutes; in 2015 it was three hours and 43 minutes, so we gained two minutes in one year.” There were over 100 new shows imported into Germany in 2015. Of the finished shows, the majority — 58% — were from the US, followed by the UK and then Spain. The leading supplier of formats to Germany was the UK, followed by the Netherlands and then the US. Saghar said that the company’s research showed that Germany is creating and exporting more programming; a landmark is the international hit drama series Deutschland 83, which is the first German drama ever to be shown on television in the US.




Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s Comedy Rocket


TV for the next generation Among those making innovative use of digital technology in Germany are the leading TV media companies. Juliana Koranteng looks at the digital ambitions of four German heavyweights


HILE TV accounts for almost 50% of total ad spend in Germany, according to Nielsen Media Research, digital media is catching up fast and leading TV companies are planting their masts in the fast growing tech-driven sector. Take Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a subsidiary of the US media con-

glomerate Viacom, which has felt pressured by the internet’s rise to be as relevant to today’s generation X, Y and Z as it was when its MTV network used cable TV technology to reach the youth of the 1980s. And it is responding accordingly. In 2016, it has already unveiled two new digital entertainment formats with millennials in mind. MTV + YOU is arguably the first


ever live-streaming TV series transmitted on a social-media platform — in this case, Facebook. Via Facebook Mentions, the app dedicated to targeting content to a brand’s Facebook followers (as opposed to a user’s friends), VIMN delivers a one-hour interactive show every Tuesday evening, hosted by German YouTube celebrities Maren Merkel and Tobias Wolf. By its second episode, it

FEATURE Our focus in the German-speaking markets is to combine digital-first products with the linear TV world, which is mostly still watched via big-screen TV

30 Jubadoo recorded almost 80,000 views and 6,000 comments by fans interacting that evening. Another new VIMN digital-first venture is the German-language edition of Icon, the YouTube channel co-founded by Endemol Beyond and Michelle Phan, the US lifestyle YouTube star vlogger and entrepreneur. The format’s German edition, created by VIMN, is called FLiP–Powered By Icon. In addition to being aired first on YouTube and VIMN’s youth-focused website Nicknight. de, a catch-up version is available on the Nicknight show on linear TV network Nickelodeon. “It (FLiP) is a perfect combination of linear and non-linear content with a clear focus on digital first,” says Mark Specht, VIMN’s general manager GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria). “Our focus here in the German-speaking markets is to combine digital-first products, be it online or mobile, with the linear TV world, which is mostly still watched via big-screen TV. This can be established by telling transmedia stories as well as by connecting or reaching out to the devices and platforms technically.” In Germany, VIMN brand-specific mobile apps for VOD aimed at different age groups

are also popular. These include MTV Play, Nickelodeon Play, Nick Jr Watch & Learn and South Park. RTL Group, the pan-European TV network, is Luxembourg-headquartered, but it is controlled by German media giant Bertelsmann, where different divisions benefit from its in-



Mark Specht

vestments in digital content and services. Included in high-profile RTL Group digital deals are its major stakes in BroadbandTV (BBTV), the Canada-headquartered YouTube multi-channel network (MCN). BBTV is evolving into an international media empire in its own right following digital collaborations with The Huffington Post, music publisher BMG, and global TV production giant FremantleMedia Group. The last two are part of the Bertelsmann empire. RTL Group also has a stake in beauty and lifestyle digital platform StyleHaul, another fast growing international MCN. Furthermore, FremantleMedia owns 51% of Divimove, the Berlin-based MCN that has 1,750 online video creators reaching 110 million subscribers. The three MCNs are part of RTL Digital Hub, a dedicated new unit launched last year to oversee the company’s digital media-related investments. These include acquiring 65% of US-based SpotX, the international video programmatic advertising platform the delivers sold and bought ads across websites. It recently launched a Germany-dedicated division, SpotX Deutschland. Another investment is in US-based clypd, another programmatic ad service but de-

FEATURE Additionally, it is hiking its stake in online sports tech startups targeting the German market. After nabbing interests in London-based football fan site 90min.com, it is planning a jointly owned version for German fans. And in October last year, it backed EverSport.tv, the Silicon Valley-based online live-sports web hub.

Comedy Rocket signed for linear TV. In November, RTL Group led the $15m funding round for VideoAmp, the California-based multi-device video-content and advertising-delivery system. Domestically, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland has invested in OTT streaming platforms for its six free-to-air channels, which include RTL Television, Super RTL and entertainment network Vox. With 28 million fans registered to its TV-related websites, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland is able to extend other digital services to its viewing customers. Last year, it launched a host of German-language online channels with original video content designed to evolve organically. The first two are the irreverent Comedy Rocket and Jubadoo (which is devoted to lifestyle tutorials and do-it-yourself videos). Additionally, via acquisitions, it has become Germany’s leading service for e-couponing and e-vouchers for e-commerce thanks to its interests in Gutscheine.de and Sparwelt.de. ProSiebenSat.1 reached a milestone in March when it became the first media company to float on DAX, Germany’s stock exchange for blue-chip companies. And among the key reasons given for this achievement are its digital-media and tech initiatives. In addition to subsidiary Maxdome — the home-grown streaming-TV service giving Amazon Prime Video and Netflix a run for their money in Germany — ProSiebenSat.1

has gained the attention of young audiences thanks to its apps for reality hit shows such as The Voice Of Germany. In 2014, it added Berlin-based digital games publisher Aeria Games Europe to the ProSiebenSat.1 Games division. Last year, it snapped up 80% of Smartstream.TV, the Munich-based multi-device video-advertising start-up; and 51% of Virtual Minds, a developer of digital video-advertising tech. In September, meanwhile, it joined a group of major corporations to invest $65m in Jaunt, the start-up specialising in virtual-reality (VR) filmmaking.



Although Axel Springer SE is more famous for its print publishing brands, such as newspapers Welt and Bild, those publishing businesses now have their own online video channels. Digital media accounted for 62% of Axel Springer’s revenues in the 2015 fiscal year and it plans to invest in more digital ventures this year. Among its mostly news publishing-themed digital assets is the international financial news portal Business Insider, which it acquired for $343m last year. Upday is an aggregated-news app co-founded with giant smartphone-maker Samsung Electronics; and via US subsidiary Axel Springer Digital Ventures, it owns a minority stake in NowThis Media, a New York-based producer and distributor of short-form video content. Also in the US, it was the lead investor in the $54m funding gained by Thrillist Media Group, which publishes online men’s lifestyle content. Like rival ProSiebenSat.1, Axel Springer is one of the investors in VR filmmaker Jaunt. And through its Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator, set up in Berlin to help startups during the growth stage, the company constantly has access to some of the most innovative tech concepts in development.



An appetite for tech Germany is Europe’s biggest market by both population and economic growth — and its digital profile reflects its size, scope and status, writes Juliana Koranteng

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ERMANY is Europe’s largest single community of online subscribers, with 77% of all its residents digitally connected. Smartphone penetration is predicted to jump to about 90% of all mobile-phone users by 2018, up from 69% in 2015, according to data from international digital research group eMarketer. Tablets will account for 60.5% of all internet users in two years’ time, up from 49% last year. In its most recent figures, eMarketer also calculated that 70% of all millennials (14- to 29-year-olds) accessed video content via the internet in 2014. The most popular streaming-TV platforms are Amazon Prime Instant Video, ProSiebenSat.1 Media’s Maxdome, Netflix and Vivendi-owned Watchever. Competition in the OTT market is intensifying. In response, the German edition of Sweden-originated cloud-delivered OTT service Magine has started to offer subscribers more flexible packages. As of February, Magine’s German customers are able to subscribe to premium pay-TV packages with no conditions attached. Amazon’s lead in the OTT market has encouraged the e-commerce goliath, which has a TV/film studio subsidiary, to commission suspense series Wanted from German actor, writer and director Matthias Schweighoefer. It is Amazon’s first German-language fiction and is scheduled for a 2017 release. Amazon’s chief international rival, Netflix, has followed suit and is reportedly in talks with Munich-based Wiedemann & Berg Film, part of the Endemol Shine Group, to also create its first German-language TV drama. Digital TV Research estimates that revenues from the streaming-TV platforms will have reached almost $2.3bm by 2020, when Germany is expected to become Europe’s lead-

ing subscription VOD market. To put this prediction in context, subscribers spent $959m last year. Germany’s social-media market leader is Facebook, with some 23 million subscribers, followed by Xing, the local equivalent of LinkedIn. Other popular social-media networks are StayFriends.de, Twitter, Wer-kenntwen.de (described as the local MySpace) and the student-centric VZ network MeinVZ, StudiVZ and SchulerVZ. Local research company GfK MRI estimates that 70% of all German millennials are Instagram subscribers. Interestingly, in view of the above statistics, Karin von Abrams, senior analyst at eMarketer, says Germany was initially very conservative about adopting digital entertainment. But once the country got on board, there has been no stopping its appetite for digital tech, she adds: “Now that the digital delivery of all kinds of video content is increasingly the norm for both broadcasters and consumers, TV and media companies know it’s vital to invest in innovation to maintain or even grow their market share. They simply can’t afford to fall behind.” With a history steeped in engineering efficiency and innovation, Germany also has the foundation for building a robust digital-tech market to serve its media businesses. “The population is well educated and most residents enjoy a relatively high level of disposable income,” von Abrams says. “So it’s a very well informed audience, with the ability to buy new technology and new digital services as they emerge. As in most of Western Europe, younger people [teens and young adults] are the typical early adopters. But a lot of older professionals in Germany are also keen on advanced digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as smart TVs.”



81.4 million

GDP per head:


Number of internet users (2015):

62.2 million

Number of internet users (forecast 2018):

62.7 million

Number of smartphone users (2015):

45.5 million

Number of smartphone users (forecast 2018):

59.8 million

Number of tablet users (2015):

30.7 million

Number of tablet users (forecast 2018):

38 million

Penetration of flat-screen TV among internet users (2015):


Penetration of connected TVs


among internet users (2015):

Penetration of smartphones 65% (among internet subscribers) used to watch TV/digital video (2015): Total digital advertising spend (2015):


Total digital advertising spend (forecast 2019):


Mobile ad spend (2015):


Mobile ad spend (forecast 2019):


Number of Facebook users (2015):

23 million

Number of Twitter users (2015):

5.46 million

Number of Instagram users (2015):

6.6 million

Share of Snapchat users among teenagers (2015*):


Source: The Economist; eMarketer; Statista.com; Internet Advertising Bureau; Digital TV Research


Germany’s Bundesliga gets virtual with HeadTrip

Still ahead of the game THE MP3 digital file technology, the foundation for everything we love about Spotify, Apple iTunes and a myriad digital music services, was invented by Germany’s foremost research institute Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft just over 20 years ago. Juliana Koranteng looks at what Germany’s tech pioneers are up to now


UPPORTED by government and private investors, Germany continues to be a hotbed for tech innovation. Numerous universities, including Mainz-based University of Applied Science, are offering degrees in Virtual Reality (VR) production, marketing and special effects. And today Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is spearheading developments in VR cameras and immersive “spatial sounds”. “The government hasn’t limited the creative freedom the Berlin tech scene is based upon and which has evolved naturally and historically,” says Nikolas Samios, joint managing director at investment firm German Startup Group Berlin. “Although you have to take into consideration that Silicon Valley has an advantage of some 20 years, the spirit in Berlin is very comparable. In 2015, Berlin startups received the highest amount of venture capital funding in all of Europe.” Examples of fast-emerging media-related German ventures using technology to change how we entertain and communicate include HeadTrip, Cologne-based 360º, VR and immersive media agency. “We have a very vivid, innovative and energetic VR scene in Europe, including Germany,” says Arne Ludwig, managing director at HeadTrip, whose clients range from ProSiebenSat.1 Media to top football league Bundesliga. “We are also the founders of Germany’s first VR Business Association, which intends to strengthen and lobby for the development of 360°, VR and Immersive Media.” As Ludwig

predicts the presence of more 360° videos on Facebook and YouTube, he believes standardisation is needed. EarthTV, Berlin-headquartered global live-TV network uses proprietary and cloud technologies plus the internet to capture and store moving images worldwide to produce a staggering 300 live short programmes in real time, round-the-clock, daily in 10 different languages. They are aired across 30 TV channels in 20 countries. The venture’s infrastructure is built on 40 HD cameras installed at iconic locations in 26 countries. It is the largest global live-camera network of its kind, says CEO and co-founder Nikolaus Lohmann. “Our growing network of live cameras acts like the eye of the viewer; everything our cameras witness is available on all our platforms, TV and online, day and night, all year round. The world is our studio, and we spend time and provide focus to show how beautiful it is to everyone”. German social TV broadcaster and technology developer Joiz Group’s technology is the pivot around which Joiz, Europe’s leading social TV network, offers millennials 24/7 interactive entertainment on air, online, on mobile, in studio and outdoors live. The young viewers are also treated as contributors to the shows and encouraged to use social media to add their input. Although only in Germany, Switzerland and Austria at the moment, Joiz Group is licensing the technology to third-party media owners. One such client is Insight. tv, an ultra-HD factual entertainment channel


that melds linear and non-linear to offer an immersive, interactive content. Launched last October, it belongs to Netherlands-based TV Entertainment Reality Network (TERN) and is available in 60 million homes in Europe and India. “Joiz isn’t just a television channel: it’s a mobile app, a website and a social media platform,” says Alexander Mazzara, Joiz Group’s CEO/co-founder and CEO. “It closes the gap between online-video sites and television channels.” Tellux Next, Munich-based digital-content subsidiary of TV and film production conglomerate Tellux Group, specialises in developing digital entertainment content where video, gaming, 360º production and live event meet. And its forthcoming projects include one produced with German public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. It will combine a TV series, live audio, computer gaming, and outdoor event formats. It is scheduled to go live this October. “Our projects aim to understand how the content development process is changing. We hope to pin down how to create content that enriches all parts of the interactive experience,” says managing director Philipp Schall. TVSmiles, Berlin-based mobile-advertising app developer, has developed a following of admirers for a second-screen app designed to encourage users to interact with brands during TV and online video commercials. Last year, it raised €5m to roll out its technology into the UK, followed by the US.



An ‘ideal’ place to shoot Philipp Stoelzl’s Winnetou


North Rhine-Westphalia has for many years played a key role in Germany’s television industry. And finance body the Film- und Medienstiftung is a key driver in the region


ETRA Mueller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, says her region, North Rhine-Westphalia, “has been Germany’s number-one TV hub for about 20 years. It is not only the headquarters for major channels and broadcasters including WDR, RTL, VOX or Super RTL, but is also home to producers such as UFA Show & Factual, Endemol Shine Germany, Brainpool, ITV Studios, Seapoint Productions and Zeitsprung Pictures. More than a third of all TV minutes produced in Germany come from NRW. Shows The Last Cop, Alarm For Cobra 11, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Beat Your Host are produced here.” Explaining the appeal of NRW, Mueller says: “State-of-the-art film and television studios and unusual locations offer ideal shooting conditions with highly professional, English-speaking production teams. Numerous service-providers from production to postproduction are producing first-class fiction and non-fiction content for cinema and television, daily.” Of the NRW Fund, she says it offers “support and funding for both cinema and TV films at

all stages of creation and exploitation in the form of conditionally repayable interest-free loans. With an annual budget of €35m, it is the strongest regional film fund in Germany, and has supported more than 2,100 film and TV productions. Furthermore, a combination of funds is possible, including the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) and the German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF). In addition, there is the new bilateral German-French funding programme for the joint development of TV fiction series.” Scripted content has been a big priority for NRW: examples are “the international co-productions: A Hologram For The King by Tom Tykwer with Tom Hanks; Alone In Berlin by Vincent Perez; and Hans Steinbichler’s The Diary Of Anne Frank. In 2016, we can look forward to promising TV dramas such as Gotthard by Urs Egger; Duell Der Brueder – Die Geschichte Von Adidas Und Puma by Oliver Dommenget; and Winnetou by Philipp Stoelzl, which will be shown at MIPTV. After the international success of Generation War by Philipp Kadelbach, NRW followed in 2015 with series such as The Valley and Club Der Roten Bae-


nder, which are also being shown at MIPTV. At the moment, the most outstanding project is Babylon Berlin by Tom Tykwer, Achim Von Borries and Hendrik Handloegten. Also, the first German drama from Amazon Prime Video, Wanted, will be partly developed in Cologne.” At present, support for TV drama constitutes 20% of NRW’s annual funding, Mueller says, though “we are expecting the funding for high-end drama series to increase further”. Partly for this reason, MIPTV is a key event for NRW: “Together with our partners from Berlin, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Brandenburg and Munich, we are very happy to provide a meeting point for all the German attendees and their international partners. Our German MIP Cocktail is one of the most important events for German and international MIP delegates, coming as it does at the beginning of the market, for networking, business meetings and conversations,” Mueller says. “Moreover, we will be wanting to tell people about our funding schemes and production facilities to promote North Rhine-Westphalia as one of Europe’s most important film, TV and media regions,” she adds.


GERMAN PAV | L | O N A home for German content, a place for good business.

„Innovation made in Germany: Joining forces with renowned producers and distributors at the German Pavilion is the perfect opportunity to present the diversity of our country‘s finest content. Our national market is growing steadily with lots of high-quality productions to offer. Come visit us for some truly unique and original programmes and formats.“ WDR mediagroup „We are a regular participant at MIPTV and MIPCOM. These markets become more and more important in view of the current developments in the international TV industry. The opportunities to meet up with broadcasters and online platforms are particularly valuable also in respect to our extensive film library. The German Pavilion is the perfect platform to present our films, because our clients know this is the place to find good German content.“ ARRI Media World Sales

The German Pavilion has moved: Palais-1: J24-K23 Organization and contact: Runze & Casper Werbeagentur GmbH Linienstraße 214 D-10119 Berlin Phone: +49 (0) 30/280 18-147 Fax: +49 (0) 30/280 18-540 mips@runze-casper.de www.runze-casper.de


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22.03.16 13:13

Profile for MIPMarkets

Miptv 2016 focus on germany  

MIPTV 2016; Special Report; Focus on Germany; Germant content goes digital; Meet some key players; The most-watched shows in germany; Digi...

Miptv 2016 focus on germany  

MIPTV 2016; Special Report; Focus on Germany; Germant content goes digital; Meet some key players; The most-watched shows in germany; Digi...