Where is the media centre Hamburg heading?
The media year 2022 began with a bang in Hamburg. In January, Bertelsmann announced the merger of RTL Deutschland and Gruner + Jahr to form Germany's leading entertainment company. Gruner + Jahr Deutschland GmbH will continue to exist under RTL. Otherwise, almost everything will change and speculation about the sale of titles such as "Brigitte," "Gala" and "Schöner Wohnen" has mounted since late 2022. Founded in 1965 by Richard Gruner, John Jahr and Gerd Bucerius, the publishing house heralded a key chapter in Hanseatic press history. The strength of the media landscape lies in its broad positioning, said Paula Lauterbach, Communications Manager at nextMedia.Hamburg. "Precisely this mix of traditional companies, digital companies, creatives and innovators drives Hamburg forward. Certain sectors continue to develop and entirely new things emerge in the interplay of topics and sectors."
All kinds of media players
This eclectic mix makes for a vibrant media centre. "Hardly any other place is home to so many major agencies, platforms and content producers of national and international significance," Lauterbach said. "These include the likes of Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Bauer Media Group, Carlsen Verlag, Jung von Matt, pilot Hamburg, and digital stakeholders such as New Work SE, Rocket Beans Entertainment and Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR). The annual OMR is Europe's largest marketing festival and attracted 70,000 delegates to Hamburg's exhibition halls last year." On top of all that, several global tech companies such as Google, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitch manage their their German businesses from Hamburg and employ over 2,000 advertising companies and around 15,000 employees. Hamburg is also Germany's agency capital and the ARD's Tagesschau, Tagesthemen and Nachtmagazin news programmes are produced in Hamburg. The Tagesschau alone, which is broadcast on ARD at 8 pm and on six affiliated channels as well as on the tagesschau24, ARD-alpha, 3sat and Phoenix channels was watched by an average of 9.8 million viewers in 2019. This makes the 15-minute bulletin the most popular and important news programme on German television.
Creative potential of artificial intelligence
The lack of skilled workers and viable monetisation strategies, which traditional publishers must develop for their online offers, are just some of the challenges facing the content industry, said Lauterbach. "These are two enormous challenges. The topic of "synthetic media" will also become more important in 2023. But apart from the challenge of deepfakes for the credibility of journalistic content, creative AI holds huge potential for the industry and took centre stage during the "AI & Media" series launched with ARIC last February. The use of AI is currently being tested as part of the Content & Tech Incubator Media Lift backed by nextMedia.Hamburg. Start-ups like BotTalk, whose AI-based text-to-speech application converts written text into amazingly human-sounding speech, and musicube, which has developed an AI-based music search, have completed the incubator successfully.
Media Year 2023
The fourth Media Lift ended in 2022 and also saw the launch of the Innovator Circle and the Storytelling Promotion schemes. "During the two-day Innovator Circle training, innovators in content creating companies receive input from speakers, exchange ideas and find solutions to challenges in a very exclusive setting," said Lauterbach. The aim of the storytelling funding is to significantly improve the visibility of creative projects in digitalisation, social business and sustainability. All three schemes, Media Lift, Innovator Circle and Storytelling Funding are set to continue in 2023.
Work and exchange space for content and industry
The AI & Media series will continue this year and in September the NEXT Conference will bring together digital decision-makers, innovators and creatives followed by the annual Scoopcamp for media in October. The year will not be without highlights. Lauterbach pointed out: "We plan to open an open work and exchange space for the content and tech industry in the Speicherstadt in late summer 2023. There will be many new offers for the industry there in addition to the familiar schemes."