This winter, German public broadcaster ZDF is to offer four parallel live streams from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The four streams are in addition to the main programme with up to 40 hours of live sports.
“More and more people are using video on the internet, so our live stream offer is becoming more and more important, said ZDF director Dr. Thomas Bellut before Fernsehrat (TV council) in Mainz.
Coverage of the games will be shared with the country’s other public broadcaster ARD, as is usually the case with main international sporting events.
The streaming offer during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was very much in demand with German viewers with 42.57 million stream requests in the ZDFmediathek in July.
Bellut also said that offering live streams is cheaper, both in terms of personnel and in technical costs, than offering multiple digital TV channels.
During the meeting, Bellut also said he rejected a proposal to merge of the ZDF’s digital thematic channels with those of the ARD. “A merger of these channels makes structures more complicated and does not create efficiencies.” From the perspective of ZDF a merger makes neither strategically nor financially or organisational sense.
ZDFneo and ZDFinfo are by far the most successful public digital channels. Both in the overall market as well as in the digital market, they achieve individually together as high or higher market share as ATD’s digital channel, ARD Festival, Eins Plus and rolling news channel tagesschau24.
ZDFneo reaches an average daily reach of over 2.7 million viewers, while ZDFneo. ZDFinfo is seen by an average of 2.2 million people per day.
In the first quarter of 2013 these two digital channels achieved a market share of 2.0 % among 14 – to 49-year-olds. “The strategy of the ZDF to combat the erosion of viewers in this age has fully paid off,” said the ZDF director.
although ZDF does not wang to merge its existing digital channels, the broadcaster is willing to work together with ARD on a common youth channel.