Jörn Krieger | 16-09-2013
German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have decided to not pursue further the video-on-demand (VOD) portal they jointly wanted to set up with partners from the German media and production industry under the working title Germany's Gold, stating that the economic success of the project could not be ensured due to the conditions set by the federal cartel office.
"We regret very much that we can't realise this project," the partners said in a statement. "In times of changed media usage, viewer needs and fragmentation of offerings, a portal would have been important which would have acted as a memory of German films and television for users and provided them with access to high quality content from all genres beyond conventional TV broadcasts at any time."
Modelled on US platform Hulu, Germany's Gold would have acted as a central hub on the Internet for series, movies and other TV programmes. The content would have been offered partially free of charge, funded by advertising, and partially for a fee.
The German cartel office saw antitrust problems in the planned joint marketing of the fee-based content as this could have had a negative impact on competition between VOD platforms. The authority wouldn't have had objections against the operation of a sole technical platform on which content providers would have marketed their programmes independently from each other. This, however, was rejected by the partners as they don't see the prospect for economic success with this model.
The cartel office already blocked a comparable attempt by commercial TV groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1. Industry observers expect that the decision to drop Germany's Gold will lead to foreign players trying to set up a 'German Hulu'.