German broadcaster Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland will launch an advertising-supported, free-to-air TV channel for US series in spring 2018.
In addition to popular, in some cases award-winning productions, the schedule will also include German free-to-air TV debuts.
NOW US will initially be available exclusively as an OTT service on RTL’s catch-up portal TV NOW, broadcasting each night from 20.15 to 06.00 CET. The usage of the daytime hours is currently unclear, but programme trailers might be an option.
Distribution of NOW US through other partners is envisaged, according to RTL. No details are given at this stage, though.
Broadband TV News understands that NOW US will not remain just an OTT service. The channel will use at least one traditional broadcast infrastructure – cable, satellite, IPTV or DTT – at a later stage, according to sources familiar with the project.
Following the airing on the linear channel, all programmes can be watched on-demand on TV NOW for up to 30 days. RTL subsidiary IP Deutschland will market the advertising times of NOW US. The programme manager is Oliver Schablitzki who is also heading RTL channel Nitro.
After RTL, VOX, RTL II, n-tv, Nitro, RTLplus, Super RTL and Toggo plus, NOW US will be the ninth free-to-air TV channel operated by RTL Deutschland.
“With NOW US, we want to offer the best of both worlds: Through the linear free-to-air broadcast, we reach viewers who still want a curated offer, while at the same time, with the video-on-demand service on TV NOW, we reach a young audience wanting to access their content anywhere and at any time, regardless of time or location,” said Schablitzki.
“While the importance of US fiction is declining for established major broadcasters, the relevance of the genre for special interest channels is increasing,” added Schablitzki. “With NOW US, we provide series fans with a new, customised offer that takes changing viewing habits into account with its programming.”
NOW US’s catch-up service is available free of charge. The linear livestreams of RTL’s free-to-air channels are offered for €2.99 per month after a 30-day free trial and can be cancelled on a monthly basis. Users can also access the programmes via smartphone, tablet, Apple’s streaming box, Apple TV app, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV as well as streaming them on the TV set.