Merger of RTL and G+J: It’s over with journalism


Bertelsmann has a new image film. Journalism does not appear in it. The Gruner + Jahr magazines are also part of the Medienbutze.

A man stands on a stage with a microphone

Head of the “Entertainment Company”: Thomas Rabe speaks in Gütersloh Photo: Bertelsmann/dpa

“Bertelsmann – for me it’s an entertainment company!” exclaims the new image film of Medienbutze from Gütersloh. At the end, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe says, so that everyone can see who is ultimately the top entertainer: “Exactly, that’s all Bertelsmann.” Of course, he no longer wears a Gütersloh-piefig tie and collar. Rabe comes in a casual cool manager outfit with an open white shirt. Come on, even ARD directors have been able to do that for a few years. “Okay, but which one of you went to a punk bank when you were young?” asks the roommate.

It could be as far, as good or as always, if there weren’t the concern that they are really serious about the entertainment company. Because Rabe has just released the Gruner + Jahr magazine, which has just merged with RTL. In an interview on the company’s intranet, he talks about expensive paper, declining advertising bookings and that everything is only going to get worse. That’s why he now wants to put all magazines to the test and “only combine titles with RTL that are really synergistic”. So those who make entertainment. That surpasses the worst fears of what the cramming together of RTL and G+J, which takes some getting used to, means for the magazines.

Rabe promoted himself to RTL boss a few weeks ago to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that the corresponding returns are delivered as soon as possible. And at the same time stone cold Stefan Schäfer dumped. He has been at the head of the broadcasting group since last year, was also boss at Gruner + Jahr and above all a journalist. This is ending now. Now Rabe, the finance man, is here.

The word journalism no longer appears anywhere in the entire image film. Neither does Gruner + Jahr. Germany’s most traditional magazine publisher (Stern, Geo, Brigitte etc.) simply doesn’t exist anymore. If you type in grunerundjahr.de, you will end up on company.rtl.com. The image film is full of RTL, but of course there is no reference to the news. Although they do a pretty good job for a private broadcaster and even afford their own news channel with n-tv.

In return, the willing consumer learns that Bertelsmann has more than 2.4 square kilometers of storage space. The question is, what for? Perhaps for the magazines and books that are no longer sold and that Bertelsmann, as Europe’s largest print shop operator, still produces. “No, no!” says the roommate. “A self-respecting manager likes to collect objects from villas to warehouses.”



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