German TV channel Super RTL goes into the startup business

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As Gründerszene reports, the German children’s TV station Super RTL wants to open up for startups. As of right now, it said it wants to offer a media budget and, depending on the deal, cash might be an option.

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Different to other media or publishing houses, Super RTL does not plan on starting an incubator or accelerator. “It’s not about building a large startup portfolio, but on thinking of useful add-ons to what our channel already offers,” Markus Steinhoff, Head of Business Development at Super RTL, explains to Gründerszene. With his colleague Manuel Seuffert, he will be responsible for the deals. Super RTL does not plan to get an extra team to work with startups. In case of need, individual experts will be asked to join the conversation.

Super RTL has not worked closely with startups yet. However, it does understand the digital movement and launched the platform Toggo.de where kids can find videos, games and entertainment. In addition to that, apps were launched as well as theme websites and Scoyo, a learning platform for children.

Though it has been said that the channel is looking into the future of TV, startups don’t have to cover that aspect. “It doesn’t have to deal with TV, but it can. A basic requirement, however, is it has to focus on children,” Steinhoff explains.

An example of what the channel is looking for could be a software development company that builds apps for children from which Super RTL could also benefit later on.

Steinhoff mentioned that if great ideas are found outside the company, Super RTL doesn’t see the need to build the products itself. Therefore, Super RTL acts as a strategic investor.

A fund is not planned as of right now, nor is there a specific sum Super RTL wants to invest, Seuffert told Gründerszene. “The focus will be on equity-for-promotion deals. If there’s a great match, we will also use cash, “ he added.

Other than the fact that investments will go up to €500,000, no further details were shared.

However, it shall not be limited to a media budget. Steinhoff explains that Super RTL is also in close contact with toy companies, where he could think of synergies for startups.

A possible exit would very much depend on the startup, he added, but it’s not their primary goal.

Startups and Super RTL will first go through a test phase. After reviewing numbers, contracts will be made. Concrete names were not shared, but the TV channel is already in talks with startups.

Whether or not media deals are useful is debatable. Getyourguide won last year’s €4 million budget on media for Pro7Sat1 and shared learnings earlier this year on VentureVillage.

Though some say deals do not work out for startups, Seuffert stresses that TV commercials can create buzz for businesses that will pay off in the long run.