ARD and ZDF connect their media libraries to a new streaming network

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The ARD and ZDF media libraries are to be connected to a common streaming network. The user interfaces and the operation of both media libraries are to remain, but all content will be made available in both offers. This was announced by the broadcasters’ directors on Monday.

Accordingly, viewers can use the search function of the ARD media library to find and play ZDF content – and vice versa. The concept envisages making all content of both offers largely unrestricted accessible. In addition to the comprehensive search function, there should also be a comprehensive personalization and recommendation system that suggests the content of both offers to viewers based on their interests. The link via the search function is not new: It was introduced at the end of 2019, but the result led to the media library of the respective cooperation partner.

Anyone who uses the ARD or ZDF media libraries without a user account should still be able to view content from both platforms and, for example, compile mixed playlists. However, all functions of the shared streaming network should be reserved for those who have a user account with one of the two services.

To implement the new, comprehensive functions, adjustments to the user interface and design are necessary. The broadcasters will also adapt data protection to the new circumstances and the user accounts will be linked. In future there will only be one common user account for both media libraries.

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ARD and ZDF want to gradually implement their new streaming network over the next few years. To this end, they have agreed a technology partnership; both media libraries are already located in Mainz. The new streaming offer should also be open to the integration of other public law content. Just recently, ARD and ZDF had taken over the youth offer radio in their media libraries.

ARD has been trying for a long time to expand its media library from a mere ‘video recorder’ for missed programs to an independent streaming service. It is said to exist in the stifling competition of streaming services that linear television has been exposed to for a long time.


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