The television market is in upheaval, both public service programs and private providers are reforming their programs and aligning them with strengthening information literacy. New players also want to compete with established networks. Maurice Querner worked with renowned media expert and media psychologist Professor …

The television market is in upheaval, both public service programs and private providers are reforming their programs and aligning them with strengthening information literacy. New players also want to compete with established networks. Maurice Querner worked with renowned media expert and media psychologist Prof. Dr. Jo Groebel spoke.

Freie Presse: The broadcaster RTL has announced a major informational offensive and apparently put on more seriousness on the whole, an astonishing development?

Jo Groebel: Basically, traditional linear television has already been declared dead. Streaming services are mushrooming even in the area of ​​news that was previously predestined on live television. Speculation that live TV will also come via on-demand offers has already started and already exists, for example on The information campaign advertised on RTL and the other channels is apparently astonishing. But at second glance, not at all. What RTL is currently doing, particularly in the field of information and documentation, is fundamentally logical. Because it is a response to the in fact still extremely great need for live, up-to-date and informative television reporting and information, certainly massively promoted by a number of events over the past one to two years. years. These have shown that the need for credible and reliable information is not only great, but has even increased further. Television as a linear medium has once again strengthened – and RTL is responding to it.

What will become of so-called trash television?

Many purely entertainment formats are just not up to date and can work on on-demand services like TV Now – and that’s exactly what RTL does. Seriousness is simply the best long-term business model. I want to clarify this: the target groups with high purchasing power and also the traders do not want to struggle with the same schematic reports of the same abysses of human depths of the population groups, which are not necessarily the most cultivated, yet and more. For advertisers, too, it may generally be nicer to be associated with seriousness rather than bullshit.

Doesn’t the broadcaster have to fear that a large part of the previous viewers will be lost if Dieter Bohlen and Oliver Pocher are no longer on the air?

No, you will certainly lose a few people who only watch Oliver Pocher & Co. But on the one hand, RTL has the option of referring to on-demand TV. On the other hand, from an economic point of view, it would not be a shame for this target, the formats and their moderators, to put it a little badly.

RTL, Pro Sieben, the advertised television image must of course compete with established public service broadcasters, which despite all criticism can demonstrate great news competence. Do they have a chance at all?

I rate the chances as very good. The cake has a lot of pieces here. And all the stations have a large number of regular staff. There is also great potential for maybe scoring points with younger viewers with a bit younger form. I think this is very important because there is a group here that can no longer be reached with serious news. RTL has also had a high level of expertise in this field since September 11 at the latest, which is in no way inferior to public law, as RTL Aktuell testifies with the presenter Peter Klöppel or the foreign correspondent Dirk Emmerich .

But what is surprising then is that RTL and Pro Sieben are relatively unscrupulous in the use of public law faces.

I am relatively ruthless there. Not because it would be particularly damaging for public broadcasters. Such changes have taken place back and forth in the past. Günther Jauch, for example, also worked for ARD for several years. And a Jan Hofer, who has a high level of competence and a high level of visibility, wanting to retire because of age limits, only shows that ARD is a little much closer to civil servants than RTL. And at Pinar Atalay, I know that in addition to a lucrative offer, she is sure to have more editorial freedom. A drying up of the public service is not at all to be feared. It’s a normal dynamic.

The former is also facing a reform of the program, which, according to all that can be heard, is directed against the ZDF. In the context of a constant discussion of fees, the question is certainly understandable whether we even need two large public law networks that are also “at war” against each other.

From a scientific point of view, one really cannot answer seriously. There are advantages, there are disadvantages. There are certainly question marks that can be placed on ARD. I am thinking, for example, of the large number of classic shows on radio and WDR, which initially reacted so inflexibly to the flood disaster, even though the broadcaster has such a large technical infrastructure. However, the two broadcasting groups have a specific profile which stimulates competition for quality within the public service system. But what makes sense to me to a limited extent or not at all is if, for example, a similar format has to be positioned against “today’s show” with insane quotas. You may be wondering what this has to do with controlling the program.

With Bild TV, we will have another player on the market this year. How will this station work?

I think the broadcaster’s chances are very good. I find the cross-media approach with Bild-Zeitung exciting and the stronger focus of well-researched quality journalism on opinion, opinion strength and popularity instead of objective reporting. Bild TV already broadcasts online and I see this as a good sign that, despite the strength of opinion, the emphasis is also on pluralism. Bubbles like in social networks are not to be feared.

So, contrary to all previous predictions, will there still be linear TV in ten years?

We can see that there has already been this push towards streaming in the entertainment, film and series sectors. I think it is plausible that there are very different models of television. We see high profile television, where, for example, binge-watching shows multiple episodes of a series at a time. News, major sporting events and entertainment shows, however, will continue to be seen live in the future. And then there is “television too” or “accompanying television” which we let go of other activities and which we only watch from time to time. This also happens in linear television.

Which group of players in Germany would you trust the most over the next few years?

I wouldn’t even want to rank there. I think that all the players with their different targets and user groups are well positioned. I know a lot of international TV markets. And one thing you absolutely have to say is that German TV in its diversity is sometimes underestimated and, in terms of infrastructure and reliability, is among the best in the world. And this is not surprising, because there are great budgets, even if they are not always distributed so well. And this is not obvious when you see the great pressure, for example, to which the venerable BBC is currently exposed. (mq)