Amazon is likely to have a bigger impact on the German market, and other markets in which it is present, than Netflix, according to a panel of TV and platform operator executives at the ANGA COM congress in Cologne.
Taking part in the opening panel session at the show, Anke Schaferkordt, CEO, RTL Deutschland, said that Netflix successfully appealed to a younger audience with its content offering.
However, she said that Amazon would ultimately prove stronger and could evolve into a player like Google or Apple that have successfully developed a closed ecosystem encompassing a wide range of products. Amazon has a broader range of products than Netflix and could disrupt the market more deeply, she said.
Schaferkordt nevertheless maintained that RTL would continue to be a successful player in German TV. She said that the “big American players with their own exclusive content are now present in the German market” and competition is increasing as a result. On the other hand, Netflix and Amazon are attracting “smaller target groups” while RTL is attracting a large, mainstream audience, she said.
Lutz Schuler, CEO of Liberty Global-owned cable operator Unitymedia, also speaking on the panel, said that he had “huge respect for Amazon” because “they are going out there and taking our business away”.
Schuler said that Amazon is likely to disrupt the German market and is likely to have a more profound influence than Netflix.
He said that local players had relied too long on “the inertia of local customers” to thrive. Elsewhere in the world, customers are cutting the cord, he said. “I’d like to shake us awake,” said Schuler. Network operators had to bundle local content and offer it to customers.
Schuler said that technological innovation married to high-speed networks would add value, citing the example of virtual and augmented reality, which companies like Liberty Global are best placed to deliver.
Tele Columbus CEO Ronny Verhelst, also speaking on the panel, said that regular broadcast TV “is not dead” in Germany, with 70% of people still watching on a daily basis.
“What is changing is that every year there is a 30% increase in VOD usage in Germany. The danger is coming from abroad, from the Netflixes and Amazons. This is a global threat. In the content world, international content… belongs to the Netflixes and Amazons of the world”, he said. On the other hand, he claimed that local broadcasters could still thrive by focusing on live content – including sport – and content with local relevance.