Speaking at the TV Kids Summer Festival today, Thorsten Braun, CEO of Super RTL, discussed how the group is maintaining its lead in Germany’s competitive children’s media landscape by evolving from a linear business to a multiplatform one.
Braun’s keynote conversation with TV Kids’ Anna Carugati, which you can view here, began with Braun discussing how Super RTL has evolved its strategies to meet the challenges of Germany’s crowded kids’ media landscape.
“It’s a very competitive market. We have four relevant players in the linear business. Three of them are ad-funded, one public player, but there are a lot of other options for kids to be entertained and to consume content. The digital platforms, like YouTube, and all the streaming services are also in Germany. There’s a lot of competition in the market, which brings us to the point that we had to reframe our strategy from a linear business to a multiplatform business.”
Super RTL remains the market leader, Braun said. “In the linear business, we are by far the number one channel. The USP for us is a multiplatform business. We invested a lot of money and resources in building a proper kids’ web operation. We launched our own radio channel. We invested in our TOGGO tour—this summer, we’ll go into various cities in Germany to entertain the kids. An estimate of 500,000 kids visit the TOGGO tour across the country. We also have a footprint in the retail business through our consumer-products operation. It’s a very broad range of platforms we serve.”
Braun noted that kids have many other entertainment options outside of television, referencing services like TikTok and Roblox. “Our approach is to give an offer to the kids wherever they want to go. We are going into the TikTok business, and we plan to get a TOGGO experience on Roblox. We are the only German player building such a multiplatform approach.”
RTL Group taking full ownership of Super RTL—buying out Disney’s 50-percent interest—has created new opportunities for the group, Braun said, “especially in the tech and data segment. We also gained a new responsibility as a team, so we are now responsible for the kids’ section on the streaming service RTL+. So, we also can bring our experience into this area. We can also have a deeper look into original productions for the kids. I’m very pleased to have this big ship behind me and on my side. It’s a good opportunity for us for the future.”
On the launch of TOGGO Radio during the pandemic, Braun noted: “The plan behind this was to have usage from kids and their parents during times when they do not use video content, especially before school and after school. It’s incremental reach from our point of view. In the last quarter of 2021, we showed a growth of 200 percent in usage on the TOGGO Radio channel. And with this success, we invested in more audio experiences. We produced our first TOGGO song, and web channels related to certain IPs and topics, and we worked on our distribution. Audio now is a strategic pillar for the Super RTL and TOGGO operations in the future.”
Super RTL continues to make investments in new co-productions and acquisitions, Braun said. “This year, we received approximately 1,000 new episodes of existing IP. We make acquisitions for the linear channels, but we follow an all-rights strategy. We also acquire content only for our AVOD service and our SVOD service. The range becomes much broader as the kids’ media usage goes in the same direction. So we do invest in the content and in maintaining the infrastructure and building new touchpoints for the kids.”
Making TOGGO top of mind for kids when they’re thinking about entertainment is paramount, Braun noted. He also outlined the importance of pro-social initiatives for the group. “We are the biggest kids’ entertainment house in Germany. With this comes a responsibility for the target group.”
On the challenges and opportunities in the 12 to 24 months ahead, Braun noted, “Linear television is under pressure. That’s the most important challenge we are facing. The other is the fragmentation of media usage. Wherever kids are, we are there with the TOGGO brand. The cooperation with RTL will deliver some good points, as we can benefit from tech and data experience. We can also look deeper into areas that in the past were not our focus, especially streaming SVOD. We are mainly 100 percent AVOD across all platforms. The SVOD business is very interesting. We can orchestrate both ways. And the other one is publishing—that’s the missing piece.”