ZDF Mediathek

A move away from Netflix: Rethinking public TV

How can traditional broadcasters appeal to a wider range of user groups? What needs to change for linear TV to become “relevant” among a younger audience? The days when TV broadcasters were competing with other TV broadcasters are long gone. Now they are facing a new rival: Providers such as Netflix and YouTube. At the same time as this transformation, the way in which audiences find something to watch has undergone significant change. Whereas in the past people were likely to flick through the pages of a TV magazine or an electronic program guide, nowadays, they are more likely to be encouraged to watch things in a decentralized and personalized manner, i.e. through social media. We have been working with ZDF to come up with a solution for the broadcaster's own media library that is fit for the modern world.




ZDF Mediathek




The way in which films, series and episodes are viewed has developed in leaps and bounds in recent years and decades. A range of new competitors have entered the market, adding to existing products and services and changing the relationship people have with content. Twenty years ago, families used to gather on the sofa on Saturday evenings to watch TV together. Today, users employ a range of devices to stream from Amazon Prime, Netflix or YouTube. This constitutes a significant hurdle for traditional broadcasters. Strengthening the call to provide services to different operating systems and end devices. ZDF faces the challenge of meeting the demands of a fragmented landscape in the highest quality and controlling the entire process, from accessibility and design to performance.

Our approach

We have formed a team consisting of experts in UX and design, development, prototyping, strategy and technology to comprehensively address the above requirements and develop a sustainable strategy for ZDF. They are currently developing a roadmap and various products such as apps, smart TV solutions and voice clients.

One of the above issues was partially solved by releasing ZDF Mediathek as a Progressive Web App (PWA). This browser-based solution includes a number of features of a native app, adapted to the circumstances of the respective user. The advantages at a glance:

  • The PWA can be split as a direct link and used on virtually any device without installation.
  • The scope of services dynamically adapts to the performance of the respective end device. Features and animations that may overload the performance of the device are automatically reduced or suppressed.

 In turn, this optimizes the user experience.

  • As the main focus is on mobile usage, the offline capability of the PWA offers an extra bonus: Service workers facilitate optimized caching, meaning the PWA continues to work in the browser if the internet connection is interrupted.
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