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Smart Home; Smart-Home-System; Intelligentes Wohnen | © GettyImages/DragonImages The film industry plays an important role in Germany. | © GettyImages/Anna Frank

Film Industry

Germany has a long film-making tradition and a rich culture of public and private TV stations. Discover Germany’s diverse film landscape.

The very first production studio was Studio Babelsberg, founded in 1912 just outside of Berlin. It remains to this day one of the biggest German studios. Of course there are a lot more film studios and other companies active in the industry. In total, there more than 20 thousand companies involved in the film industry. They recorded revenues of EUR 11.6 billion in 2020 and provide work to around 118,000 film industry professionals.

The public and private television model of the film industry

Germany is home to a thriving public and private television landscape and a fast-growing streaming service environment.

The television market is split in two. On the one hand, there are the private stations, of which ProSiebenSat1 and RTL are the biggest. On the other hand, there are the state-funded public stations. The main channels being ARD and ZDF. But there are also a number of more regional public television stations. The revenues of the film industry are distributed as below.

Film and television consumption

On average, Germans watch 328 minutes of television. Of this time, 51.8 percent is spent on private channels. RTL group has the biggest market share with 22 percent, followed by ProSiebenSat1 with a share of 17.8 percent. When it comes to the technology used to receive the programming, satellite ranks first with 17.5 million households. After that, cable is the second biggest solutions with 16.2 million households, followed by IPTV (2.8 million households), and terrestrial (1.9 million households). 

Around eight million households subscribe to payTV and Paid-VoD, which generates revenues of EUR 4.7 billion. Other subscriptions that are not based on content (e.g. fees for cable usage) account for EUR 3.3 billion in revenue.

In total, there are 1,723 movie theatres with 4,931 screening rooms in Germany. In 2021, those cinemas sold 42 million movie tickets – equivalent to around 0.5 annual movie visits per German citizen. The average ticket price was around Euro 8.87.

Streaming is clearly on the rise in Germany. In 2022, video streaming was used by 34 percent of Germans on a daily basis and by another 30 percent at least once a week. The usage of the platforms differ signifcantly, depending on the data source. Most see YouTube as the most popular platform, followed by the media offerings of the public TV stations. The next most popular video platforms are Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

Film Production

Germany is an attractive film production location for international film makers. Generous public funding subsidies are available for films produced in the country.

In 2020, there were 736 production studios. They are clustered in four film hotspots. The Berlin-Brandenburg cluster leads the way with 190 production companies, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (162 production companies), Bavaria with (144 production companies), and Hamburg (66 production companies).

Film Funding

A majority of the movies produced in Germany are partly funded by one of the many public film-funding programs. These are divided into national and regional funding programs. In 2021 the National funding programs had a funding volume of more than EUR 100 million. This is divided between the Filmförderfonds, Filmförderanstalt, German Motion Picture Fund, and the “Deutsche Kinematik” Foundation. As with the national funding programs, the regional funding programs require some reference to the region covering the subsidies. This could, for example, be that parts of the film are shot locally or that part of the funding is spent in other ways in the region.

Film Industry Trends

Conventional film consumption trends are changing thanks to the rise of on-demand streaming services that also provide new market opportunities for advertisers.

Non-linear television

Classic linear television remains the main type of television usage, although Video-on-demand (VoD) is clearly on the rise. Apart from the big players such as Netflix and Amazon, the German private television stations and payTV providers are also trying to gain a foothold in the streaming market. All of the big players (ProSiebenSat1, RTL, Sky) have launched their own streaming services. They feature national and international series and films as well as their own productions in order to gain a competitive edge. The shifting trend towards VoD will continue in the coming years. Nevertheless, linear television will remain a big part of television consumption for the foreseeable future.

Social TV

Social media has been on the rise for some years now and most entertainment options have some form of social media element. This may be Twitter hashtags while discussing political issues or fans posting live concert photos of their favorite artist on Instagram. 

It comes as no surprise then, that consumers also use their telephones and other mobile devices while they follow their favorite television programs. This "second screen" is often used to comment on and discuss the programs being watched. This not only increases the reach of the content to the contacts of the people that use the social media options, it can also help to expand advertising messages onto the second screen. Because smartphones collect different user-data points than smart TVs do, the marketing messages on the TV screen can be enriched and even personalized.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is a technology that lets marketers show targeted marketing messages on individual television devices subject to audience, time and day as well as more granular demographic data. This feature increases the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of the marketing approach. This instrument is often used in combination with artificial intelligence in order to further optimize targeting. 

Programmatic advertising has already been used for online marketing on the web and in apps for a long time. Thanks to the increased spread of smart TVs and their connection to the internet, that marketing technology also gets used for linear television more and more. Some 64 percent of German households already own a smart television and are therefore targetable via programmatic advertising.

Original content

Original content is one of the main reasons for consumers subscribing to a certain streaming provider. And, as the number of streaming services increases, providers are hard pressed to find ways to distinguish their offering. That is why it becomes more crucial for the streaming providers to create and produce their own content available only on their own platform.

The attractiveness of original content also increases when local storylines and movies are produced, as customers feel more at home with these motion pictures. The trend towards increased local productions is also supported by a European directive: the streaming providers’ catalogues need to consist of 30 percent European content. This led Netflix and other streaming providers to invest heavily in the production of European originals and co-productions.

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