Hash­tag Dai­ly: the first soap for social media

The suc­cess of dai­ly soaps like Good Times, Bad Times (GZSZ) or All That Mat­ters (Alles was zählt) has con­tin­ued unab­a­ted for seve­ral years. But who is actual­ly still wat­ching ana­lo­gue tele­vi­si­on at the same time each day? We are spoi­led with on-demand plat­forms like Net­flix or Ama­zon Prime. Clips on You­Tube and in the social media have been com­pe­ting with tele­vi­si­on for a long while.

But the Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor start-up Hash­tag Dai­ly is very suc­cessful at demons­t­ra­ting that the dai­ly soap prin­ci­ple can just as easi­ly be exten­ded to Tik­Tok or Insta­gram. Users have been able to fol­low the sto­ries of love, intri­gue and fri­end­ships of high socie­ty sin­ce 2019 in short, five-min­u­­te epi­so­des on their mobi­le pho­nes on week­days - regard­less of whe­ther they are sit­ting on the sofa or in a train. The for­mat is per­fect­ly tail­o­red to the tar­get group and uses the mar­ke­ting mecha­nisms of social media. Desi­gned as an influen­cer soap, Hash­tag Dai­ly also mar­kets pro­ducts and ser­vices inte­gra­ted into the sto­ry­line and through the actors.

The Hash­tag Dai­ly team hea­ded up by the actress and entre­pre­neur Anna Julia­na Jaen­ner had alre­a­dy recei­ved an award for this initia­ti­ve as one of the best NEXT pro­jects at the Can­nes Film Fes­ti­val last July. They recent­ly pas­sed through the Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor and have now beco­me part of UFA Seri­al Drama’s new label.

Social TV with pro­duct placement

It all star­ted with an idea from soap actors who were sup­po­sed to be pre­sen­ting con­tent on their accounts ‚but did­n’t feel like just tal­king the­re about the best cap­puc­ci­no or the wea­ther in Munich. “We are actors, we do soap, we can do series. That’s how things ori­gi­nal­ly star­ted,” Anna Julia­na Jaen­ner says in con­ver­sa­ti­on. She ser­ves as the show­run­ner and co-aut­hor as well as the pro­du­cer of Hash­tag Dai­ly with her busi­ness part­ner Lisa Hoch­hau­sen. Tog­e­ther with her team, she was at the same time pro­fes­sio­nal and uncon­ven­tio­nal in the way she approa­ched the who­le thing wit­hout the sup­port of a pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny. Like influen­cers, they pro­du­ce con­tent on a dai­ly basis. What is spe­cial about the cast is that almost all of them are working both in front of and behind the came­ra. As con­tent crea­tors, they know how to edit vide­os, inter­act with fol­lo­wers and ensu­re for reach on the plat­forms. Some of the per­for­mers’ per­so­nal pro­files alre­a­dy have seve­ral 100,000 fol­lo­wers that they can bring to the venture.

Por­trait for­mat and Goog­le Analytics

Hash­tag Dai­ly also dif­fers from a TV soap in the way it is made. The for­mat is shot in the mobi­le phone’s por­trait for­mat. Editing, came­ra and sound must be in line with this approach. Things often then hap­pen spon­ta­neous­ly on the set. If it sud­den­ly starts rai­ning, the sce­ne will spon­ta­neous­ly be moved indoors. Ins­tead of a walk in the park, the actors will then play bil­li­ards in a bar – the­re isn’t any need for any ela­bo­ra­te script chan­ges to be able to do this. Unli­ke con­ven­tio­nal series pro­duc­tions, they look for loca­ti­ons to ser­ve as pro­duct pla­ce­ments. It isn’t neces­sa­ry to block off lar­ge public are­as, as is the case when film­ing a TV series. Thanks to the por­trait for­mat, there’s also no need, for exam­p­le, to pixe­l­a­te passers-by becau­se they won’t appear on came­ra in the first place. The pace of shoo­ting is con­se­quent­ly even hig­her than for a dai­ly soap - the Hash­tag Dai­ly team shoots 110 minu­tes per month and about 30-40 pages per shoo­ting day. That’s how a com­ple­te sea­son comes tog­e­ther: from wri­ting to publi­shing on the social media. The pro­duc­tion pro­cess is simi­lar to that of TV series, but the­re isn’t any report­ing to a com­mis­sio­ning edi­tor or a broad­cas­ter. It’s reach and inter­ac­tion that count rather than ratings.

“We are clas­sic online mar­ke­ting, use Goog­le Ana­ly­tics, work in an agi­le way. We are more tech than film, and more TV sta­ti­on 2.0 than film pro­duc­tion 2.0,” Jaen­ner says. “And, of cour­se, we have more oppor­tu­ni­ties to try things out or adapt them if, for exam­p­le, we see in sea­son five that a cer­tain sto­ry­line is working better.”

From Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor to UFA

To begin with, they star­ted with Insta­gram, but it was­n’t a big suc­cess in spi­te of the good noti­ces. The tur­ning point came with Tik­Tok. It was much easier to achie­ve orga­nic reach on the plat­form, espe­ci­al­ly at the begin­ning. “We were a bit ahead of the cur­ve. One series after ano­ther is now appearing in this for­mat. That’s gre­at for us becau­se we know that the mar­ket is now rea­dy. If you don’t have com­pe­ti­ti­on, you feel like you’­re a bit too ear­ly with your idea,” Jaen­ner says. Ever­y­thing had alre­a­dy been ad-finan­­ced from the very first sea­son via pro­duct pla­ce­ments, with café loca­ti­ons or major brands like a jewel­lery label.

Despi­te the gro­wing suc­cess and the team’s enthu­si­asm, the­re were set­backs from time to time. Inves­tors drop­ped out and a finan­cial plan nee­ded to be drawn up. Ano­ther Media­Tech Hub Acce­le­ra­tor mem­ber (Ben­ja­min Heese from feel­belt) offe­red his sup­port and hel­ped with a coher­ent busi­ness plan. It was thanks to him and the loca­ti­on in Pots­­dam-Babels­­berg that the team was then able to make direct cont­act with UFA. After mee­ting them for lunch, the exe­cu­ti­ves at UFA soon rea­li­sed that Hash­tag Dai­ly could beco­me a valuable addi­ti­on to the UFA fami­ly as a digi­tal platform.

In the press release, Joa­chim Kosack, Mana­ging Direc­tor of UFA Seri­al Dra­ma, com­pa­res the inno­va­ti­ve natu­re of Hash­tag Dai­ly with the launch of GZSZ in 1991: “Just like 30 years ago, the mar­ket is curr­ent­ly going through enorm­ous chan­ges and is open to many new for­mats. We see gre­at poten­ti­al in the Hash­tag Dai­ly label for the high­ly com­pe­ti­ti­ve digi­tal market.”

Hash­tag Dai­ly will now be deve­lo­ping new for­mats for Ama­zon Prime, Patre­on and Only­Fans as its next pro­jects within the UFA family.

About MTH Blog

The media tech­no­lo­gies of the future are alre­a­dy being used today – not only in the enter­tain­ment sec­tor, but also in a wide varie­ty of indus­tries. Chris­ti­ne Lentz meets up with tech enthu­si­asts, estab­lished com­pa­nies and rese­ar­chers for our month­ly Media­Tech Hub Pots­dam blog to tell the sto­ries behind the inno­va­ti­ve busi­ness models.

About MTH Blog

The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.