At the end of March, a well-known broadcaster closed down its own media library and moved. With this step, ARD is pursuing a large-scale strategy.
The media library of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) will be closed at the end of March. The broadcaster announced this in autumn 2022, after having stuck to its own platform for a long time – and it is not the only one. The reason lies in the long-term plans of the ARD.
ARD has big streaming plans
ARD has been planning to strengthen its own media library for some time. It was only recently that it became known that the media association has even greater goals. Together with ZDF, they want to create a streaming platform that will even compete with large providers such as Netflix in Germany, as ARD boss Kai Gniffke announced.
“ARD is tackling the biggest reforms in its more than 70-year history. In order to make the ARD fit for the future and to correspond to the changed media usage behavior, we will shift media from the linear to the non-linear. In the next four years we want to invest more than 300 million euros in the development of technology. The first thing to do is to expand the joint streaming network with ZDF. Specifically, we are currently developing common technical standards, a common login, an excellent player, an easy-to-use search function and a user-friendly recommendation logic,” a spokeswoman for the company told TECHBOOK.
Part of this strategy seems to be to centralize the offerings of the associated channels. In the past, therefore, several broadcasters have already given up their own media libraries and have moved to the ARD media library. This is what should happen with Bayerischer Rundfunk and ARD Alpha at the end of March.
The Bayerischer Rundfunk is one of the largest institutions of the ARD. That’s why it was probably also possible to keep your own media library for so long. So far, the content has actually been available extensively in both media libraries. This should end at the end of March 2023; the BR media library is finally moving to the large ARD platform. Anyone who then wants to access the previous BR page from April 1st will be redirected automatically.
“Like all other state broadcasting corporations of the ARD, the BR is also concentrating on strengthening the five major digital platforms of the ARD and on focusing the joint energies on them: ARD Mediathek, ARD Audiothek, tagesschau.de, sportschau.de and KiKa.de . Because the ARD Mediathek, as a large German streaming service, will be the joint home of all ARD video content in the future, the audience will have access to the content of all other ARD broadcasters in addition to the content of the BR on the part of the sender.
The arguments put forward against a merger in the past were primarily aimed at the regionality of the offer. People who are only interested in Bavaria should continue to have a platform for this. In the ARD media library, there is currently a tab called “Select region” under the main categories and the area for the big brands. The regional offers such as rbb, NDR, SWR or even BR are then available there. This concept will probably remain in place even after the BR media library has been discontinued.