RTL Deutschland's successful streaming service TV Now was renamed RTL+ on Thursday, ahead of a significant expansion of investment in the service over the next few years. This move will create Germany's first all-inclusive media subscription service in the first half of 2022. Under the slogan “Watch More, Listen More, Read More”, subscribers will have access to films, drama series, entertainment shows, documentaries, sport and news, as well as a to a wide range of music, exclusive podcasts, a well-stocked audiobook library and premium digital magazines.
The new entertainment platform brings together all categories of digital media, and as the first “one app, all media” offering on the market, precedes a whole new generation of streaming services. RTL+ will make streaming more user-friendly for people of all ages who want to enjoy a comprehensive range of news and entertainment with a single subscription, instead of having to sign up for multiple services.
RTL+ has invested in the development of AI-based technology, enabling users to easily and 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 always offered suitable content suggestions across all types of media. By leveraging this technology, RTL+ will create a cross-media entertainment experience in which users not only discover content they are interested in but are also notified of additional content they might enjoy.
With 2.4 million paying subscribers and up to 7 million unique users a month, RTL+ is already Germany's leading streaming service. The upcoming combination of Gruner + Jahr on 1 January 2022 will give RTL Deutschland access to premium video, audio, podcast and digital magazine content. For audiobooks, RTL+ is joining forces with German publisher Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe, which, like RTL Deutschland, is part of Bertelsmann. For music, RTL Deutschland has entered into a partnership with Deezer, one of the world's leading audio-streaming services.
Matthias Dang and Stephan Schäfer, Co-CEOs of RTL Deutschland, say: "RTL+ makes streaming easier than ever before. 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+ is also a true innovation for the international media market. 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 Deutschland’s successful partnership with Deutsche Telekom is set to continue. TVNOW has been available on Deutsche Telekom’s streaming service MagentaTV since the end of 2020, with Telekom introducing a new pricing structure and including TVNOW Premium in its MagentaTV Smart and Smart Flex pricing at no additional cost. This will continue after the rebranding to RTL+. The next step will follow in 2022, when Telekom will integrate the new RTL+ entertainment platform into MagentaTV – on an exclusive basis and at a price advantage for its customers.
RTL+'s entertainment offering currently features over 50,000 hours of programming across a range of genres, including drama, documentaries and live football. The number of high-quality original series is also growing fast. For example, Thursday 4 November saw the start of the Cannes International Series Festival award-winning drama Ferdinand von Schirach – Glauben (The Allegation) starring Narges Rashidi and Peter Kurth. This will be followed on 30 November by Faking Hitler, with Lars Eidinger and Moritz Bleibtreu, and Sisi, starring Dominique Devenport and Jannik Schümann. In addition, all 14 RTL Deutschland TV channels can be live-streamed on RTL+.
RTL+ will also feature music, audiobooks, radio plays and podcasts. For this, RTL+ has built partnerships with Deezer, one of the world's leading music streaming providers, and the German publisher Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe. The offering will also include AUDIO NOW's extensive and exclusive range of podcasts and music from RTL's radio stations.
As RTL+ expands in the coming year, subscribers will also be able to read digital editions of premium magazines from the Gruner + Jahr portfolio directly on their screens for the first time, giving them access to a wide range of content from news, finance and entertainment to food, living and lifestyle, family and sport.