RTL Logo | billwerk GmbH References | Digital Media

RTL optimizes processes with billwerk

“Within a short period of time, we were able to carry out a number of significant optimizations on our processes and contract-relevant features as well as on the business and pricing models themselves.”

Case Study


What was the initial situation like? What were the challenges to be mastered?

The way TV and video are consumed is essentially changing, away from linear TV programs towards on-demand services. Access to these services via mobile apps, SmartTV and browsers, anytime, anywhere, is also playing an increasingly important role. The Media Group RTL has taken this sustainable development into account since 2007, and has made content available online ever since. However, the ongoing change requires continuous further development of our online presence. Whereas RTLnow, nowtv.de and, initially, TVNOW (RTL+ since November 2021) were primarily concerned with the provision of broadcasted TV content of the RTL media group’s channels for delayed viewing; films and series produced exclusively for TVNOW (RTL+) will increasingly be available from 2019 onwards. 

In the past, we used a combination of in-house development and the functionalities of a payment provider for the management and billing of TVNOW’s (RTL+) paid packages. It turned out, however, that we could not do justice to the increasing dynamics of the video-on-demand market in the long term. Changes on the product side required adjustments on both sides and new models could only be implemented slowly and with great effort.

In order to be able to offer our customers a comfortable and contemporary experience with TVNOW, it is essential that we can act quickly and flexibly. 

What possible solutions have you considered for meeting the technical / infrastructural challenge?

We no longer wanted to tie up our own development resources for subscription management and the billing functionality of TVNOW (RTL+), especially as these areas have to be constantly developed further in terms of flexibility and also regulatory requirements. Instead, we can utilize our resources better for the development of the portal itself.

In addition, we wanted to increase the degree of automation of our back-office processes in order to further reduce expenses and costs. It quickly became clear that using a specialist provider for recurring billing and subscription management would help us achieve our goals.

How did the solution with billwerk differ from the others? Why did you finally decide to meet the challenge with billwerk?

From the beginning we liked that billwerk is an open platform with a very well documented API. In addition, we received competent advice and the willingness to respond to our partly special requirements.

How did the integration (operational, structural, timewise, etc.) of billwerk and the transformation of the organization work in connection with the solution?

billwerk provided us on their side with a product manager and a team of experts for various areas ( functional, technical) to which we had access both in the regular calls and beyond. This made coordination easier and we were able to benefit from the billwerker’s experience.

The establishment of effective communication channels was also very helpful, allowing developers as well as product and project management to exchange information on minor issues or to coordinate appointments via quick and informal communication channels. This project set-up was also one of the decisive factors in ensuring that the complex migration of our existing customers was well prepared and went smoothly. 

How does the solution work today (metrics)? What is your conclusion?

By using the billwerk solution we were able to make a number of key optimizations to our processes and the contract-relevant features as well as to the business and pricing models themselves in short time – and, we continue to work constantly on tapping the full potential of the billwerk solution for us. We are very excited to see how the solution will impact the development of our metrics, especially the upgrade rate from free to paid access for our services.  

Do you have any helpful tips for other project managers who are also facing a similar challenge?

Yes: MVP, MVP and MVP – concentrate on the essentials in the first step! Second: Do everything you can to ensure open and efficient communication between all parties involved – both stake-holders and service providers. 

RTL+ | Logo | billwerk Reference customer | Industry: Digital Media

RTL+ (formerly TVNOW) is the video portal of the RTL media group, which is operated by RTL interactive. It was founded in January 2007 as RTLnow and was then known under the name now.tv. The video-on-demand platform was renamed TVNOW in 2016, and has been renamed RTL+ since 2021.

RTL+ offers a digital subscription model and includes various media genres. As with TVNOW, the main focus is on streaming TV and movie content, but the offering is also being expanded to other digital areas, eg. music, podcasts, magazines and other video and audio content. According to the company, the new platform will be the first “one app, all media” offering.

Ingo VoormannsSenior Manager Paid-Services, RTL interactive GmbH, Mediengruppe RTL

From the beginning we liked that billwerk is an open platform with a very well documented API. In addition, we received competent advice and the willingness to respond to our partly special requirements.

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