A planned joint video-on-demand platform between ARD and ZDF, Germany’s public broadcasters, was supposed to be a flagship project. However, the plans have continually run into problems. Now ZDF director, Thomas Bellut is considering calling an end to the joint scheme.
Speaking at the International Media Convention in Berlin, Bellut said that plans to introduce a joint video-on-demand internet platform with ARD may have to be dropped due to antitrust concerns. He stated it would be a “real shame”.
The German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) criticised the plans in March of this year. It expressed concerns that ARD and ZDF would end up competing on the open market and that the use of marketing by the tax-payer funded broadcasters would result in a distortion of competition.
Bellut commented that American broadcasters are standing in line to take over such as business model. But he asked whether it is not time for a video-on-demand platform to be tried in Germany.
ZDF Neo and ZDF Info
Addressing growing criticism about digital channels ZDF Info and ZDF Neo, Bellut said he would fight to keep them. “ZDF Info and ZDF Neo more than subsidise losses from our main programming,” Bellut claimed.
Bellut also noted that the media library offered by the channels receives similar viewing levels to a small broadcaster. “The potential of [the library] will be realised within the next few years.” The director also welcomed the planned ZDF/ARD youth channel.