“For a colourful audience”

23.04.2021, Germany, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland

Bernd Reichart, CEO of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, talks to Wirtschaftswoche magazine about a change in needs in society, RTL’s role in news, growth targets for TV Now, and bundling digital content.

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Speaking to Wirtschaftswoche, Bernd Reichart explains how RTL is adapting content to the audience’s new needs: “RTL is the first choice for mainstream in the best sense – made for a large and colourful audience. We are responding to the increased need for orientation and context with more independent journalism from our recently reorganised news department. And we are focusing on positive entertainment and great, innovative family television.”

Bernd Reichart ©Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland /Marina Rosa Weigl

He says the RTL brand is not only evolving visually, but also in terms of content: “Because people’s moods and needs are changing. Despite all the tendencies towards social division, we are registering an increasing desire for community and closeness.”

Speaking of news, he says: “We employ 700 journalists who produce nine hours of live information every day for RTL alone. Now we are further expanding the information on offer and making it even more visible. We also recently signed up Jan Hofer for another news format.”

“We play the national market. And here we are stronger”
Commenting on the fact that Netflix and other streaming services are now also producing national formats, Reichart says: “We invest over one billion euros per year in our own content, far more than the US companies in our market. And while they mainly produce series, we also produce a much greater variety of genres with entertainment, information and documentaries as well as sport. This year alone, we are launching an average of one original production per week on TV Now.”

As a result, he says the number of subscribers is growing, especially during the coronavirus pandemic: “TV Now had 1.3 million paying subscribers at the end of last year. Year-on-year, growth quadrupled in the first three months of 2021. By the autumn, we want to pass the two-million mark.”

Speaking about the planned renaming of TV Now to RTL+, Reichart says: “With the renaming, we are bundling our power and strengthening our core brand of RTL. We are currently moving very fast and successfully.”

Bundling digital content
“Video has the power to drive the convergence of different media genres (...). The many positive experiences of cooperation within Bertelsmann help us in this consideration,” says Reichart regarding the bundling of Bertelsmann group digital content. “It could be in users’ interests to interlink individual media genres more closely. Amazon and Apple are also working on this at the moment. In this way, content could be provided along the lines of interest in a topic or a personality. Then the question arises as to why we stream video and audio separately when we have both in the company. We are looking at topics like these.”

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