Deutsche Telekom launches original content offensive

Deutsche Telekom has unveiled its first attempt at original content with Germanized, a ten-part series about a mass movement of Germans into France. Brave move.

The show itself will focus on the plight of a French village on the verge of bankruptcy. To avoid the plunge, the gallic farmers welcome a German business into their streets, along with hundreds of efficient German workers. It will be the first original piece of content for the telco’s EntertainTV service.

The premise of the show is a remarkably bold attempt to make light of the two countries’ catastrophic past relations. Here’s the blurb: The history between France and Germany has always been cluttered with misunderstandings so, as two hundred German newcomers invade the idyllic French village, will this tiny settlement be able to look past the differences and make their very own French/German co-habitation work?

“Our journey continues – after UHD and the first exclusive series for Entertain TV, the next logical step is original productions” said Michael Hagspihl, MD of Private Clients Telekom. “With our partners we have put together a strong team with stellar expertise in serial production. We’re looking forward to joining forces for our first EntertainTV Original.”

“Streaming platforms have profoundly changed the way we consume television series,” said Jan S. Kaiser, MD of Bavaria Fernsehproduktion, the company which co-produced the series.

“As one of Germany’s leading production companies we have many years‘ experience in successfully developing and producing fictional content and, together with our coproduction partner Telfrance, we’re a strong partner for Deutsche Telekom. Germanized is our first production for a streaming platform and we’re positive that this is just the beginning of a long business relationship.”

The series itself will focus on the conflicts and misunderstandings between the two camps, possibly leaning on stereotypes and past conflicts. And fair enough to DT we say. A world where being politically correct and trying to satisfy everyone while offending no-one, runs the risk of creating boring, beige and repetitive content. DT is sticking its neck out a little so well done. Of course, it could just address some of these tricky issues on a very superficial level. We’ll have to wait and see, but we are a bit intrigued.

Another interesting development here is the actual move into original content. To date, DT has found its success in the content world mainly through aggregation. Whether it would be EntertainTV or StreamOn, the focus has been on being a facilitator of content, essentially walling in its customers and charging access at the game for content players. It is a smart business model, especially for a business the size of DT, but this does offer an extra string to the bow.

We’re not 100% convinced the telcos have the skills or the adventurous ambition to compete in the cut-throat world of content creation, but ideas like this are certainly a fresh approach. At least DT seems to be trying something different, which is more than can be said than a number of the telcos throughout Europe.

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