Kleine Zeitung taps TV market to reach young audiences

By Claudia Mann

Kleine Zeitung

Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria


How many people does it take to produce a TV show? Four, if you ask Kleine Zeitung. This is one of many lessons the team has learned since 2020, when a local TV station reached out to the print paper’s youth-focused brand, Futter

“The TV station A1now was looking for young, driven media professionals that were up for a new challenge,” said Hannah Zaunschirm who, together with her then-colleague Martina Marx, started working on a concept right away. I was given the opportunity to take over the editorial lead. 

The result is Was geht? (“What’s up?”), in which two hosts discuss a topic that made headlines and explain it within the span of a 15-minute episode that airs weekly.

Whether it’s cryptocurrency, inflation, or a political debate, no topic is off limits — no matter too complex. With the use of memes, videos, and special effects, the target audience – people under the age of 30 – seemed to be drawn to the show instantaneously. Social media teasers that promote new episodes can reach up to 40,000 views. And despite being entertaining to watch, the show by no means lacks substance.

Was Geht? tackles complex issues in ways that appeals to a youthful market, and also mixes in lighthearted and entertaining pieces.
Was Geht? tackles complex issues in ways that appeals to a youthful market, and also mixes in lighthearted and entertaining pieces.

Since none of the team members had experience in the TV business, we simply developed our own way of doing things. The two hosts who present an episode are also involved in planning the show, writing the script, and doing research. On production day, the team’s producer, Manuel Hanschitz, is in charge of recording while another team member acts as the creative director and makes sure the recording process proceeds smoothly.

Small crew, big results

Compared to big networks, this set-up with a crew of four may appear lean. However, it proved to be both efficient and successful: Already, in the show’s first year, the Austrian government awarded Was geht? the Youth Prize – an award to honour media coverage targeting young people. 

The team, which currently consists of Zaunschirm, Julia Zötsch, Claire Herrmann, Anna Aichholzer, Hanschitz, and myself, likes to go beyond what is covered in the print edition of Kleine Zeitung, focusing on topics that are particularly interesting for younger audiences and underrepresented in mainstream media.

Besides breaking down complex issues — such as the crisis in Afghanistan — and making them easier to grasp, the team also likes to mix in more lighthearted and entertaining episodes. One example is an analysis of Millennial’s fear to take phone calls, which received a lot of interactions on social media. 

The work of Was geht? aligns with findings in a report from Reuters, which found traditional brands see news as “what you should know” whereas young audiences see it as “what you should know … what is useful to know, what is interesting to know, and what is fun to know.”

And speaking of things that are fun to know: Not only is Was geht? aired on TV via A1now, it can also be streamed. And on various occasions, the audience gets to decide which topic is covered next by casting their votes on Instagram polls. 

About Claudia Mann

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