German broadcast group RTL Deutschland on Wednesday launched an “all-in-one” streaming service that promises to bundle video, live sports, music, podcasts, audiobooks and a suite of digital magazines in a single monthly subscription.
The new package, launched as part of the group’s RTL+ streaming service, bundles RTL’s video content — more than 55,000 hours of drama, reality TV and sports programming, including the UEFA Europa League championships and NFL games — with more than 100,000 audiobook titles from Penguin Random House (a subsidiary of RTL parent company Bertelsmann), some 120 million songs supplied through a deal with French-owned music streamer Deezer, as well as several thousand on-demand podcasts. In the coming weeks, RTL plans to add to expand the offering to include digital subscriptions to several magazine titles from publisher Gruner + Jahr (another Bertelsmann subsidiary), including women’s magazine Brigitte and entertainment title Gala.
RTL announced plans for its German all-in-one service back in 2021 but the rollout was delayed by nearly a year, during which time the streaming market has shifted dramatically. The subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) business in Germany lags behind that of the U.S. — research group Kantar estimates around 55 percent of German households have a least 1 SVOD subscription, compared to about 85 percent of U.S. households — suggesting there is plenty of room to grow. But RTL pointed to a recent survey by Cologne-based marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher that found fully 30 percent of German subscribers want to cancel their SVOD subscriptions, with those surveyed citing cost-cutting as a primary reason for the move.
These tighter economic times, the company suggested, were the ideal time to launch an all-in-one discount bundle. RTL’s “all-inclusive” package starts at €12.99 ($14.24) a month, the same price as the standard German Netflix subscription.
“From recent studies, we know that users are picking a streaming service, they pay close attention to where they can get the greatest variety of content at the most attractive price,” said RTL CEO Thomas Rabe. “That’s why our multimedia app, which offers all media types in one app and at a price of €12.99 euros, comes at exactly the right time.”
“Everyone is talking about bundling, which is why we’re proud to this week be launching the first multimedia app,” said RTL Deutschland co-CEO Matthias Dang, adding he was convinced the all-inclusive offering will allow RTL+ “to secure a permanent place among the top 3 streaming offers available in Germany.”
In the first quarter of this year, according to Kantar’s figures, RTL+ was seventh in terms of new monthly SVOD sign-ups in Germany, with just a 3.4 percent share of new SVOD subscribers. New Amazon Prime subscribers, by contrast, accounted for 37.7 percent of the market, with Disney+ at 14.6 percent and 12.8 percent of new subscribers signing up to Netflix.
RTL needs to get its streaming strategy right. The company’s core business, advertising-supported television, is in a slump. First-half revenue at parent company RTL Group, reported this week, showed profits fell more than 56 percent to €132 million ($145 million) and revenues were down more than 5 percent to €3.1 billion ($3.4 billion). SVOD is one of the only areas of growth. Subscriptions for RTL+ and its Dutch streamer Videoland reported a 34 percent jump in first-half subscription numbers to 6 million. RTL+ accounts for 4.5 million of those.