ZDF shows them all. It proves its innovative spirit with the new media library.
“A first class viewing experience with the second TV channel” – this is the promise now also being fulfilled online by ZDF, with a new media library that sets new industry standards and which has already won several awards. Our NewTV experts Kemal Görgülü and Benjamin Hempel explain why in an interview.
Interview: March 2018
How did the cooperation with ZDF come about?
About three years ago, ZDF was looking for a partner with the know-how and experience to develop the television of the future – with the ability to implement those ideas on a technological level. We were able to assert ourselves within the sea of competitors and convince everyone with our ideas and visions. Our innovative approach to this project was to consistently focus on the needs of today’s online users while uniting the various ZDF websites and media libraries in a single portal. This corresponded with ZDF’s wish: One system for all consumers.
Everything needed to become more flexible, networkable, and more narratable.
The media library before the relaunch was primarily designed to relay what was distributed on television onto an online platform on a one-to-one basis. The merging of zdf.de and the media libray made it necessary to redesign the programs and their content, specifically with a focus on a wider editorial scope. Everything needed to become more flexible, networkable, and more narratable.
What was your vision?
We managed to score rather highly and to simultaneously prove that we are a well-suited partner for ZDF by simplifying the new system, allowing editors from all departments of the TV station to use it, with the goal of simplifying and easing their daily routine. The success of the media library strongly depends on the extent to which the editors like and enjoy working with the system.
ZDF is a major broadcaster. Thus our initial question was: How will the editors – and these are 300 employees from different departments – all be able to use this system? The people behind “Maybrit Illner”, “WISO”, “Das aktuelle Sportstudio”, every single person has to be able to work with this new system. This is why we entered into a dialogue with the editors. We didn’t just look at the software design or the architecture as a whole, but instead we focused on the entirety of this project, including all the people behind it. We conducted interviews, held workshops, and asked many questions such as: “What does your everyday working life look like?”, “What are your wishes?”, “What does the system have to be able to do in order to make your work more efficient?” We carried out a requirements analysis, looked at the actual and target situation, and constantly obtained feedback. This constant and close cooperation was certainly key to our success.
Meanwhile, it was vital to strengthen the ZDF brand, not only by fusing all content and formats into a single portal, but also by making sure that said content and formats themselves enjoyed matching designs. We said to ourselves: What we have here needs to be a media portal, strategy, architecture, and navigation which extend across all platforms.
The new ZDFmediathek is more than just television.
What makes the new ZDFmediathek so special?
The new ZDFmediathek is more than just mere television. It does not follow the duct of linear TV programming. Instead, it is a platform where you are able to set up and filter according to your preferred themes in such a way which corresponds with the present trends in online streaming. We used modules for contextualization and personalization and have combined ZDF’s broad content portfolio with the new possibilities of internet television. Not only are TV series and films available on this platform, but everything the streaming heart desires: News programs, sports, investigative formats as well as brilliant entertainment.
TV as a
Get to know how ZDF uses its media library to appeal to younger viewers, and how they perceive this change:To the project
But the new ZDFmediathek is much more than just a streaming service. Netflix only offers little information about the featured TV series or movie. ZDF has more requirements in regards to what kind of content and format need to be depicted and tied into the software. For example, picture series, interactive slides, or info boxes are used to visually enrich videos. Our goal was to create an instrument which is able to meet even the most varied requirements of a very heterogeneous online editorial team while also being easy to operate, so that editors are able to focus on producing content.
The results show that we have succeeded. The new ZDFmediathek is both simple and yet more. It is simple because it is quite user-friendly and makes it easy for users to find the exact content they are looking for. On the other hand, it’s more because it reflects the entire diversity of the ZDF universe: It unfolds horizontally and vertically to infinity in front of you.
We were able to work out every detail with our client.
The ZDFmediathek has won the German Design Award, among other awards. What do you think is the secret to this success?
The decisive factor was undoubtedly that the main editorial department for new media at ZDF enjoys several strong personalities. They are very adept at what they do, and are clearly an equal partner for us. We were able to work out every detail with our client, which is something quite special and effective, as we spurred each other on creatively.
It was important for ZDF to find not just designers and programmers who would implement ZDF’s own ideas, but a partner, an agency that would accompany and advise them along the way, implementing their expertise and technical know-how, and above all work with empathy, respect, and trust. This is similar to being in a relationship. The word ‘partner’ describes it well. It’s about something long-term, about a high degree of consensus, about developing with each other, getting better together, and going down this path together in the future. And that’s exactly what we’re doing now.
We have recently re-launched the app for ZDF’s children and youth program ZDFtivi, and we have integrated the news portal heute.de into the media library. Up next are implementations for the upcoming 2018 Football World Cup and for 3sat, so the success story continues.
- Benjamin Hempel
- Senior Consultant
- +49 30 246 560 250
- +49 171 490 54 38
- E-mail Benjamin