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The use of corporate TV

Corporate TV or business TV has the potential to fulfil today's communication challenges as an instrument of corporate communication. What was initially conceived as a medium for large corporations with budgets in the millions is now developing into a medium that can also be used by medium-sized companies. This development is due in particular to technological developments that have significantly reduced costs and simplified production. Whereas satellite broadcasts and cost-intensive film productions used to drive up the overall costs of corporate TV, it is now possible to produce content cost-effectively using modern technology and stream it over the Internet.

We find the use case of Handelsgesellschaft für Baustoffe (hagebau for short) particularly interesting.

hagebau is an association of around 350 medium-sized wholesalers and retailers with more than 1,500 locations in Europe. hagebau has built its own studio for internal communication with employees, dealers and other stakeholders and regularly produces numerous video contents that are made available as live streams and on-demand in its own media centre (and app). The range of topics is diverse: town halls, virtual trade fairs, product presentations, financial reports and training courses. With the production and distribution of around 100 videos a year, hagebau's corporate communication is clearly focused on video communication!

We spoke to Hauke Mertens, Product Owner New Media at hagebau:

Bilder 3Q-Blog


Mr Mertens, what is your position at Hagebau and what does hagebau actually do and how are you positioned?

I am Hauke Mertens, 32 years old and my position is Product Owner, New Media. I am responsible for our audio and video production as well as our cooperation website

hagebau is the leading co-operation in the building materials trade. We therefore serve both the retail and specialised trade. We are there for customers and professional customers at our hagebaumarkt, hagebau Kompakt and hagebau Profi locations.

There are 350 independent companies in the group, which we call partners, and they can be of different sizes, with different numbers of locations across Europe, but mainly in Germany and Austria. It is a very individual target group, an extremely heterogeneous group of entrepreneurs.

I am based at the headquarters of this cooperation in Soltau and as the head office, we have the task of providing various services for our partners. This includes internal and external corporate communications.

Why do you rely on video for your communication work?

Basically, this is mainly due to the lockdown measures in 2020 and restricted travelling, which presented us with major challenges as we are dependent on being close to our shareholders. We suddenly no longer had any dialogue, were no longer allowed to travel to the locations or meet at conferences, so we decided to take the whole thing online and go virtual.

We did this in small steps at first to test the whole thing. Then it very quickly became clear that we wanted to professionalise this form of corporate communication.

In 2020, we started to build an in-house studio. And now we have the opportunity to position our content, our topics and, of course, our own brands accordingly and to keep our most important stakeholders up to date at all times.

First and foremost, these are our shareholders and our employees. And our main formats are livestreams, vodcasts and dialogue formats.

We have fixed monthly dates for these three formats, but also for discussion panels. We organise digital trade fairs, we do productions with our own exhibitions in the studio, which can be relatively large, we offer training courses, we do webinars, but also external productions such as classic films and image films for projects.

We use a professional video platform as our video portal. It is important that not everyone can see everything and you have to be able to set exactly who has what authorisation to see certain content, because some of the topics we communicate are highly sensitive and explosive.

We have two communication portals of our own, a very extensive and complex one for the shareholders and a modern app for our employees. Videos are set there by the editors in such a way that the authorisations are adhered to and we can then ensure that the sensitive content gets to where it is supposed to go.

We do live streams in two ways. Either we use the classic RTMP variant and embed it on websites, which we then distribute in a targeted manner. This is always very popular, especially for suppliers, because they don't have Office access. For our employees and shareholders, we rely exclusively on Microsoft Teams, as this also guarantees a recording. Our live events can often last longer than two hours and are then prepared, distributed and archived accordingly.

What were your biggest internal and external challenges in realising video stream projects in the company?

In a company of our size and complexity, with its own IT, regular and constructive dialogue is important. And I always emphasise constructive. You might get annoyed if, for example, some ports have been blocked or a new firewall rule comes into effect or the security concept has somehow been updated and then something doesn't work. But our guys are always really good at solving things quickly and, above all, efficiently and we have a good dialogue. But it's also important to keep all domains up to date so that a video doesn't suddenly stop working, to regularly check the setup and also to randomly ask people whether the video has been watched.

How much video content do you produce on average per month?

It is actually difficult to say how much we produce each month because it depends a lot on which topics are urgent and may need to be prioritised higher.

We have fixed dates for livestreams for shareholders and fixed dates for livestreams for employees. These take place monthly. There are also other regular dialogue formats, such as vodcasts, discussion groups and, if there is still capacity available, other projects. For example, we have many IT projects that want to provide regular information and then there are also larger productions where we really go out with the camera and fly a drone.

Roughly speaking, we produce around eight to ten videos a month, so about 100 a year, I would say.

Do you measure the performance of your streams?

Of course, I'm always interested in the number of participants, but above all the bounce rate. So where does the livestream get boring, when do people drop out and for what reasons? It's often the case that our topics are so full that we overrun our deadlines and viewers then leave because they no longer have time.

Livestreams are always a bit difficult to measure. With video-on-demand, it's a bit easier with the VTR, or video through rate. It's important to us that the content reaches the target groups and I regularly check whether the viewer numbers are right.

How much support do you receive from your management team?

We started with print in internal communication, then came digital texts and now we have arrived at video. When we started with this, it was torture for some managers to stand in front of a camera. They are all experienced speakers who know how to talk to whom. And they know how to stand on stage and let their eyes wander in order to address people directly. But standing in front of a lens that gives no feedback and is simply there is a challenge. You have to practise and learn that first. And in the meantime, this has become a quality standard that we will no longer lower.

The commitment to preparing for shoots and realising the shoot is correspondingly high. It's a nice co-operation and also a nice change from other appointments. Our three managing directors really take their time. The individual divisions are also encouraged to organise livestreams for their projects. They do that too.

What does the future hold?

In the future, I would like to switch to a virtual set so that we can avoid changeover times and be more flexible in use. After three years of experience, everyone has got used to being in a studio and we can take the next step.


Thank you for talking to us!

Post by Sandra
February 6, 2024