Austrian public broadcaster ORF would be open to taking German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF on-board its video-on-demand (VOD) portal Flimmit which ORF wants to establish as a counterweight against US platform Netflix which is currently preparing its launch in German-speaking Europe.
He could well image distributing programmes from ARD and ZDF on the platform, ORF’s director general Alexander Wrabetz told German industry magazine promedia. “The German public broadcasters are in fact our most long-term and most reliable partners.”
With its stock acquisition in Flimmit, ORF wants to react to the trend towards non-linear online video consumption and secure a strategic position in this new, growing market, explained Wrabetz. “Linear television will not lose importance in the foreseeable future and ORF has a very strong market position. But you can’t neglect the future developments.”
“In view of the rapid increase of competition through market giants like Apple, Netflix, Amazon and other players, you have to be prepared in time, even though our project doesn’t stand in direct competition against the large portals offering US movies and series, but will rather be a complementary gourmet shop,” said Wrabetz. “Nevertheless, we don’t want to wait for the market to be completely occupied and want to actively be involved in the currently developing universe of over-the-top video in Austria.”
The free-of-charge catch-up TV service ORF TVthek will not be scaled down in return, affirmed Wrabetz. “With the shareholding in Flimmit, the business models SVOD (the customer subscribes to the whole offering or parts of it) and TVOD (the customer buys single titles) will be pursued complementary to TVthek.”
As the first step, ORF will acquire a minority stake in Flimmit through its commercial subsidiaries ORF Enterprises and ORS comm, said Wrabetz. He didn’t disclose, however, whether ORF wants to take over the majority interest at a later stage.