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A blockbuster for the ears: ProSiebenSat. 1 launches FYEO

Von Katrin Baumer

The media company ProSiebenSat.1 launches FYEO (For Your Ears Only), an on-demand service that brings audio content to a new level – with blockbusters available on a subscription basis.

On April 23rd, ProSiebenSat.1’s newest audio innovation goes live. The platform follows a trend that has already been set with offerings such as ARD Audiothek or Audio NOW from RTL Radio Deutschland. FYEO, however, wants to set itself apart from the competition: "We are launching a platform for an on-demand audio service that is based on a different business model than the ones that have existed up until now. This includes a monthly subscription for originals as well as podcasts, and classic content that is available for free – as it is already available from other apps," explains Benjamin Risom, Vice President at FYEO.

A next level audio experience

For € 4.99 per month, the premium subscription mainly includes high quality, in-house productions, so-called "audio blockbusters", as Risom calls them. "It's like cinema to the ears – fictional, partly serial programs, which are produced with the same standards as the video sector."

This content is a unique selling point of FYEO. "When developing the scripts for our fiction programs, we work with people who come from the film and television industry and who can now try out something new in the audio industry", states Luca Hirschfeld, Director Operations at FYEO. Of course, it is important to "think audio" from the beginning in order to capture the audience, to create a certain atmosphere and explain the context.

When it comes to the voice actors, FYEO collaborates with well-known personalities from the cinema and TV industry. The original "Makel" (Blemish), a thriller about a research institution on a North Sea island, is voiced by Heike Makatsch and Peter Lohmeyer. In addition to fictional plays, the platform also offers documentaries, like the series "In Haft" (Locked Up) where dangerous criminals are interviewed in prison, or the co-production with the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, "Deutsche Abgründe – Der NSU & der rechte Terror" (German Abysses – The NSU & the Right Wing Terror).

Reaching the audience in any situation

Why does ProSiebenSat.1 trust in audio programs? The decision is an important step for the company. According to Hirschfeld, the group wants to reach users as an entertainment company and in every way possible. A look at current statistics shows that no one can ignore the audio trend anymore – the number of podcast listeners is constantly increasing. The audio digitization report of the regional media authorities (Digitalisierungsbericht Audio) shows a 16.8 percent increase in the number of podcast listeners in Germany between 2018 and 2019. Among 14 to 29-year-olds, there was an increase of 29.1 percent. According to the Goldmedia Trend Report, one third of all Germans will listen to podcasts in 2020.

"For us, it is the next logical step to serve this market," explains Hirschfeld. Among other things, this medium offers the opportunity to reach users in places and situations not possible with moving images – for example on the way to work, during sports, or while doing housework.

A greater reach thanks to well-known names and smart networking

In order to create a greater reach for FYEO, the network mainly concentrates on a mix of marketing within its network and beyond its own channels. "We try to link the group’s resources in a clever way. For example, we work with artists from Studio71 that have a very large reach on YouTube. We connect with their core audience via exclusive podcasts," states Risom.

Besides the different marketing aspects, the FYEO founders particularly want to attract customers through unique content. "With the audio medium you can create an incredible proximity that can even be spatial," explains Hirschfeld.

They do not give any information about how many customers the platform could reach, but there is a lot of support from the network, says Risom: "Of course we have to earn money in the long term, but we aren’t under any unnecessary pressure. We have the freedom to be courageous, to try out new things and to establish ourselves in the market."