mediasteak’s Anne Krüger and Laura Pohl curate TV programmes

Category: Future heads

© mediasteak

© mediasteak

For the ordinary TV consumer is has become no easy task to find exciting programmes or films in the many media players available. Relief comes in the form of mediasteaks – a service provided by Anne Krüger and Laura Pohl to help navigate the video jungle. Every day, the two founders watch and recommend documentaries, films and videos in order to not let the viewing pleasure turn into a searching frenzy. They tell Projekt Zukunft their secret to discovering all the current “fillet pieces” that are hidden in the media players and all the other video platforms on the internet.

Ms Krüger, Ms Pohl, can you let us in on a secret? How do you manage to keep up with all the exciting TV programmes and formats that are out there?

Anne Krüger: Every day, we scan the media players, video platforms and private providers to see that latest entries to the media libraries. In addition to this, we are subscribed to a variety of newsletters which help us to get all the details on what's on the agenda in the coming weeks.

It was only when it became possible to transfer large amounts of data via the internet that the broadcasting corporations lost their monopoly on broadcasting moving images. Physical data carriers such as video tapes or DVDs were the only alternative to TV when it came to distributing videos and documentaries. Today, however, there is a whole range of platforms for moving images available on the internet. How has TV been dealing with this competitive pressure?

Anne Krüger: We haven’t seen a real change yet but new features have been added to individual programmes through the internet with viewers being able to interact with certain programmes via Twitter, Facebook, etc. In talk shows, there is a person presenting comments posted on social networks and viewers are invited to ask experts for advice after consumer rights TV programmes.

Some programmes are uploaded on the media players before the actual TV broadcast. Other programmes are divided into shorter videos that are then uploaded individually on the internet. Examples would be “Neo Magazin Royale”, “heute show” and “Stilbruch”. This is a sign that the producers are adapting their programmes to accommodate user behaviour. However, when you tune in after 8 pm, conventional TV still looks like it used to in the past.

TV viewers used to be only interested in programmes that were broadcast when they were at home. Thanks to the media players the risk of missing our favourite programme has lessened. However, as it is becoming possible to access programmes over a longer period of time the number of programmes relevant for us increases. Are TV magazines still an adequate means of keeping track of all the available content? And what is the role of so-called curators?

Anne Krüger: To start with, TV magazines provide a great overview at a glance. Unfortunately, there is no information on whether or not a programme or film will be available on a media player after it has been broadcast. As a result you will have to look through the contents in the media players yourself. And there is a huge amount of documentaries, films, and programmes added to the players every day. This is why many users have a few standard programmes they keep coming back to and many other programmes are overlooked which is why it is a good thing to have curators and platforms providing users with information on interesting content. Curators play an important role in this as no one is going to have the time to click through 40 media players every day.

Artificial intelligence seems to be the next big thing in the start-up scene in Berlin. However, mediasteaks is the perfect example for quality being created by qualified professionals and human intelligence. Can you tell us more about the way you work?

Laura Pohl: After Anne and I arrive in the office in the morning we start our day by combing through all media players, video blogs and other platforms that provide good content. After that we have an editorial meeting where we decide who will be watching what content for the next day and create a “fillet” of the content – this is how we refer to our recommendations in the office. Apart from viewing video content and our other daily tasks we produce playlists for co-operations, work on our app that we are currently developing for Apple TV or organise our film events. Often there is so much to do that we don't watch the programmes during office hours but rather in bed at night or while brushing our teeth in the morning.

You have worked both in Potsdam and Berlin. What is your experience with these neighbouring locations so far? 

Laura Pohl: During the six months we have worked in Potsdam we were introduced to many great innovative projects that are funded mainly through Medienanstalt mabb. We, too, owe our grant to one of the mabb institutions – the Media Innovation Center Babelsberg (Medieninnovationszentrum Babelsberg, MIZ). The MIZ-Babelsberg provides funding for students, startups as well as media professionals and, in addition to the financial support, offers numerous coaching opportunities, individual support and a valuable network. This helps develop a creative scene in Potsdam that can freely develop its potential and grow continuously.

Anne Krüger: In Berlin, on the other hand, we work in a co-working space where young journalists, bloggers and creatives share an office space. Where there is no funding or public money available things are more geared towards customer acquisition and digging up investors – this is true for all locations. As far as we’ve seen, Berlin and Potsdam seem to be well connected and there are efforts, at least on the side of the people in Potsdam, to establish connections with the creative scene in Berlin.

Ms Krüger, Ms Pohl, a personal question before we wrap up this interview: What was the best programme you have seen in 2016 and how did you stumble upon it?

Anne Krüger: All programmes that are produced by “Bild & Tonfabrik”, including “Neo Magazin Royale”. Without a doubt, the show is among the best shows that German TV has to offer at the moment and to me Jan Böhmermann is the most entertaining and at the same time smartest TV host currently on the air.

Laura Pohl: It is difficult to decide on just one programme. I like satirical formats with a good dose of black humour which is why “Deutschboden” springs to mind. In the film, Moritz von Uslar ventures into the heart of Brandenburg (the German federal state surrounding Berlin) in order to find the ultimate German equivalent of the British chav. I discovered “Deutschboden” in the ARD mediathek while doing my daily research. 

Before we end the interview, I have one last request – could you please complete the following sentence: Berlin is...

Laura Pohl: ... when in addition to the hundreds of new bars and restaurants in your street an independent cinema finally opens up on the corner.

Anne Krüger: ... when an irritable man verbally unloads on a woman on the S-Bahn and shortly after a young girl walks over to the woman saying, “Don't take what he just said too seriously. I’m sure it wasn’t personal, he was just in a very bad mood.”



Tanja Mühlhans

Leitung Kreativ- und Medienwirtschaft, Digitalwirtschaft, Projekt Zukunft