How the TVF web series channel makes money

Nonlinear television on the rise

The GfK subsidiary Retail and Technology calculates that there will be two million hybrid devices in German households by the end of the year. And that with monthly double-digit growth rates, which led the Vice President of the industry association BITKOM (Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media), Achim Berg, to the conclusion: "The integration of Internet and TV is one of the most important trends in consumer electronics." The hybrid television removes the separation of computer and television. Every type of moving image that can be found on the Internet can now also be viewed from the couch on the television.

This is a consistent continuation of a development that began with the next generation having long since given up the separation of laptops and televisions and often only have one computer that serves them equally as a means of communication, entertainment and work. "Classic television is losing the young," says Robert Wagner, Head of 3min, Telekom's web series channel. And he is certain: "Web-based television will become a large market because the viewer is no longer oriented towards a given program structure. The process can no longer be stopped." In Germany, the management consultancy Deloitte found out in a survey, 46 percent of Germans want to connect their television to the Internet. Frank Franz, Marketing Manager TV / Video at GfK Retail & Technology, said at the 6th Consumer Electronics Forum, which was held in November 2009 under the heading "Hybrid TV - 'just' a new 'feature' or a radical change in the TV market? " It even said: "100 percent of the younger generation want Internet content on their television sets. But now it is a matter of changing the usage behavior of normal consumers. Because whether there is a fundamental upheaval depends on whether the consumer accepts it of web TV usage is developing and willing to pay for it. " The transmitters adjust to the new time. The Association of Private Broadcasting and Telemedia (VPRT) generally welcomes the expanded possibilities that hybrid television offers with the help of the newly introduced HbbTV standard. With its help, a new type of teletext is possible, with which the broadcasters can use applications to equip their programs with additional offers. At the same time, the VPRT makes it clear that hybrid television should not be used to undermine the commercial broadcasters' business model. "There is an agreement with the viewer that the private broadcasters finance their offer with advertising," says Sebastian Artymiak from the VPRT. He is talking about streaming television programs on the Internet that are used by third parties for advertising revenue models.

The content on the Internet is still aimed at PC users: the broadcasters' media libraries, video-on-demand portals, short film portals such as YouTube or 3min, as well as numerous websites such as studiVZ, which also offer moving content, some of which are even produced exclusively for them . The broadcasting groups ProSiebenSat and RTL were the first to respond to the need to introduce hybrid television. You are planning a joint media library portal that is also open to other broadcasters. You have to find the rest yourself or with the help of Google TV, which will be launched at the end of the year, which wants to turn the television into a "complete entertainment instrument" and use it to open up another channel to aggregate advertising. While you are watching a program, you can discuss it in parallel on social networks or access background information.

While the broadcasters may lose their steering function in the future, the producer has direct access to the end consumer. But that also means that he has to market and refinance his own content in this way. "Because the major part of the margin on the web is generated through the evaluation," says Britta Schewe, producer and consultant for the financing and marketing of web series, the crucial difference. "But that also means that the producer has to take care of how the advertiser is involved." On the other hand, this way offers the producer the chance to regain his creative freedom because he can address the target group much more directly. "We are learning more clearly again to surprise people with stories," says Marc Lepetit, producer of the 360 ​​° format "Kill Your Darling" produced by Phoenix Film, looking forward to the prospects. "As producers, we can be clear on the Internet and work without compromise, something that the target group will appreciate." In the end, it doesn't have to be that big. "Everything is much more detailed on the Internet, including the audience that needs to be addressed directly," says Lepetit. That may be a bit tedious, but on the one hand the market is becoming more and more fragmented due to the Internet, and the margin is falling for large, classic TV projects. So diversification is a way of counteracting this, adapting projects to general needs, revising one's practiced thinking and - in part - reinventing oneself and picking up viewers where they have escaped from old content. For a producer of web content, it is important not to follow the 14 to 49 thinking of the advertising industry, to think unconventionally and freely, to identify the wants and needs of the target group, to find a partner for a niche product, to move away from the risk-free life Say goodbye to a contract manufacturer and take care of how product and consumer come together. "But that also means that the producer has to accept and take care of how the interests of the advertiser are linked to the nature of the content," says Britta Schewe, referring to one of the producer's most important tasks. Dirk Hampel, who designs and produces media projects such as the "4 Yoginis" for and actually earns money with this series, knows that it is worth it. "If you do it skillfully," he says, "you can make a bigger profit with small things than with big ones." And he also explains how to go about it: "You have to look for the target group and make them an offer where they are. Or you build a way for them to find where the product is."

One of these ways is through portals specializing in web content. It is more efficient, however, to look for a place where the target group is already located, because the successes of "4 Yoginis" (over 300,000 viewers per week and around three to four million views in twelve weeks) and that of the UFA "Pietshow" produced in cooperation with studiVZ (three million views in two months for the first season) are based on their integration into the portals. Another way is to create a community channel. However, when it comes to developing original web content, the industry is still in the search and test phase. One suspects great opportunities and is not prepared to let them slip through your fingers. The UFA has invested quite a bit of its own money so far. The first season of the "Pietshow" was self-financed. "The marketing came from studiVZ and the production know-how from Grundy UFA," says "Pietshow" producer Nico Heise. "It was important for us to try out the subject. The first season was therefore clearly a test." UFA put one million euros into "Kill Your Darling" by its subsidiary Phoenix Film, and the UFALab, the alchemist's workshop for groundbreaking content for the new media, has just opened.

The question of refinancing is still unanswered. But this market is on the move. Based on a 400 percent growth in advertising for online videos, Robert Wagner estimates that advertising spending for the television and online video market will be 50:50 in five years.

By the way, everything else on the web is no different than with traditional television: You have to be found and accepted by the viewer. "Not being seen is not a problem due to the oversupply on the Internet," recalls Britta Schewe. "This applies equally to television and cinema." stei

What is hybrid TV?

The German TV platform ( differentiates between web TV, IPTV and hybrid TV. IPTV is a predefined broadcast offer for TV screens with assured technical transmission quality from a service provider. In Germany these are the programs offered by T-Home Entertain and Alice TV with over 1.2 million subscribers, who have now established a fourth TV transmission channel in addition to cable, satellite and antenna. As a third provider, Vodafone is planning to start an IPTV offer this year.

Web TV, on the other hand, is everything that can be pulled from the Internet without a technical guarantee of quality, including YouTube, 3min. or belong to legal or illegal movie and series websites. Web TV has so far been consumed on the PC screen. In the second phase of the convergence of Internet and TV, hybrid TV is now emerging as a combination of television programs with Internet offerings on modern flat-screen TVs. The major device manufacturers such as Philips, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony develop their own systems to make the Internet usable on the TV screen either with guided systems or via the well-known web browser. Using these systems or the planned Google TV, the television set can be expanded into a media center within a home network.