ARD and ZDF want to put the code for their streaming media libraries on a common basis. Parts of it are also to be made freely available.

ARD and ZDF are putting their streaming media libraries on a common technical foundation.

The streaming media libraries of the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are also growing together technically: The broadcasters want to develop a joint “streaming OS”, they announced on Monday. The code is also to be made publicly available as part of “one of the largest open source initiatives in Germany”.

Competitors should also be able to use the Streaming OS code in this way, ARD Chairman Kai Gniffke commented on the initiative. He can imagine a cross-provider German streaming network. “If other institutions – including media companies that compete with us – use the software, then you can also imagine it as the nucleus for a large German-language platform.”

ARD and ZDF media libraries also want to use the shared technical foundation to manage user data across the board. Meanwhile, it is still unclear which parts of Streaming OS will be made publicly available. In addition to the streaming player itself, the broadcasters’ joint streaming software will also bundle the login system, code for recommendations and the “core of the design system”. ARD and ZDF are thus also placing their media libraries on a common technical basis, having already grown together in terms of content in recent years.

In addition to private providers, educational institutions can also benefit from the broadcasters’ planned open source code, according to the broadcasters. “In this way, we are giving something back to society for which it has paid us,” comments ZDF Director General Norbert Himmler on the project. Cooperation with European partners is also conceivable, according to a statement.

ARD and ZDF are setting up a joint office for the streaming OS, where the project will be managed. The technical development of the operation is to take place in a commercial subsidiary, which will be founded under the management of ARD. The broadcasters hope that Streaming OS will be ready in spring 2025.

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