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With an annual content investment of €600 million ($693 million), RTL Plus will be expanded into a cross-media entertainment service, comprising video, music, podcasts, audio books and e-magazines in the first half of 2022, creating Germany’s first all-inclusive media subscription service.
In August, RTL Deutschland agreed with parent company Bertelsmann to acquire Gruner + Jahr’s German publishing assets and brands for €230 million, which will contribute popular magazine titles like Stern, Brigitte, Geo, Capital, Schöner Wohnen, Eltern and Art to RTL Plus and also provide access to premium video, audio, podcast and digital magazine content from Jan. 1, 2022.
For audiobooks, RTL PLus is teaming with German publisher Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe, which is also part of Bertelsmann. For music, RTL Deutschland has entered into a partnership with leading audio streamer Deezer.
RTL Deutschland existing partnership with Deutsche Telekom will continue. In 2022, Telekom will integrate the new RTL Plus entertainment platform into its MagentaTV service.
In September, RTL Deutschland signed a deal with Constantin Film to acquire all their productions from Jan. 1, 2022, for free TV and streaming.
Overall, RTL Plus promises a “one app, all media” offering spanning 50,000 hours of programming across genres and to power this, it has invested in the development of AI-based technology, enabling users to intuitively navigate and consume diverse and personally curated content. A recommendation algorithm based on smart text, audio and video analysis will ensure that users are offered suitable content suggestions across all types of media.
Programming highlights include the just launched Canneseries winning drama “Ferdinand von Schirach – Glauben” (“The Allegation”) starring Narges Rashidi and Peter Kurth; “Faking Hitler,” with Lars Eidinger and Moritz Bleibtreu; and “Sisi,” starring Dominique Devenport and Jannik Schümann.
Matthias Dang and Stephan Schäfer, co-CEOs of RTL Deutschland, said: “A single subscription will give our customers access to an entertainment world of unparalleled diversity. With drama series, films and sport, documentaries and news, music, podcasts and audiobooks as well as premium e-magazines, they’ll be able to watch more, listen more and read more than ever before.”
“RTL Plus is also a true innovation for the international media market,” the executives added. “By engaging closely with our audience, we know that a lot of people have been waiting for a service like this that is diverse yet also easy to use. For us, this offering brings together everything we have been strategically developing – Germany’s first fully-integrated media company, which aims to grow across all media categories and expand its market-leading position by providing positive entertainment and independent journalism.”
RTL Plus currently has 2.4 million paying subscribers.