Mr. LeFloid, please

ProSiebenSat.1 tunes in LeFloid Youtube series commissioned by Google

Gamescom 2018 in Köln
You have been LeFloided. Source: Picture Alliance

German private broadcaster Pro Sieben Sat 1, which operates free TV and pay TV channels, plans to break into the booming online market by partnering with Youtube star LeFloid and Google.

Google commissioned Berlin web video producer Florian Diedrich, aka LeFloid, to star in his own eight-part English-language series called “LeFloid vs. The World.” The 30-year-old hosts a Youtube channel watched by hundreds of thousands.

It will be shown in weekly installments on Youtube Premium, the paid content service of Google’s video service that went live in Germany Wednesday.

Berlin, Berlin, we’re filming in Berlin

The series was made by Studio 71, the Youtube marketing unit of Pro Sieben Sat 1. The Berlin-based firm, which has 70 staff, arranges sponsorship for Youtube stars like LeFloid in return for a share of the proceeds and places selected TV programs online.

The unit’s CEO, Sebastian Romanus, said internet users were increasingly prepared to pay for programs provided they were good. “Viewers have clear expectations,” he said.

In “LeFloid vs. The World,” LeFloid meets prominent officials including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, Daimler DEO Dieter Zetsche and German basketball star Dirk Nowitzki.

It’s an ideal platform for gaining more viewers, Mr. Romanus said. “We want to show that we can be on a par with Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

Advancing into the internet is part of the group’s strategy to lessen its dependence on TV advertising revenue. “Classic linear TV usage remains stable at around three hours per day,” said market research firm TNS. But advertising income is virtually stagnant.

Joachim Hofer is Munich correspondent for Handelsblatt. To contact the author: hofer@handelsblatt.com

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