The German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are planning the launch of a common premium VOD service together with TV and film production companies, according to the Financial Times Deutschland.
Under the working title Germany’s Gold, the broadcasters plan to start the premium service, which will offer “the best of 60 years of German TV”. Viewers will be able to choose to pay for viewing a programme or see it for free with advertising. ZDF director Markus Schaechter told the newspaper: “It’s all about the prospect of earning big money with video-on-demand.”
This statement has raised some eyebrows, as the German public broadcasters are known for offering all their programmes across all platforms, including mobile and online, at no cost to the viewer. However, many of the classic German TV programmes were produced by independent companies, who retained the rights. The German public broadcasters also own a number of production companies who act as commercial entities. In order to show these programmes, the pubic broadcasters will need to work together with them in a public-private cooperation.
The Gold VOD service would compete with the common online web TV platform, which is proposed by the two biggest German private broadcasters RTL Deutschland and ProSiebenSat.1 Media. Earlier this year, the monopoly commission Bundeskartellamt said it will block their plan, but the private broadcasters will fight this decision.