Peter Heineking

"We have to make sure that the customer has access to his material and this for years. Stable performance is essential here - and Host Europe is a very reliable partner".

Peter Heineking - eitelsonnenschein film production

One of the mottos at Berlin/Cologne film company Eitelsonnenschein is “without passion there is no product”.
Its with this mantra in mind that its founders and managers – the Heineking brothers – and their ever-growing team have produced everything from television commercials to award-winning television shows.

It’s this mantra and other shared values, including a love for Cologne, that also brought Eitelsonnenschein to Host Europe. We caught up with managing director Peter Heineking to discuss everything from what it’s like to work in an old candy factory and the future of film to hosting essentials.
We're in an interesting building right now. Can you tell us more?

This is my grandmother's old candy factory in Cologne-Nippes. My brother and I have been living here for nine years with our company Eitelsonnenschein. From childhood on we have had a connection to this building. The connection is much stronger than to a rental property.

What is your job in your company?

Plenty, actually everything. I am the managing director of Eitelsonnenschein and therefore I take care of the management of the business, from customer acquisition to strategic orientation. Ultimately, it’s my role to ensure that the business runs overall and moves forward. This also includes developing business plans and making sure that we implement them in the time we have planned.

How did you get to where you are now and why did you start eitelsonnenschein?

The initiator was definitely my brother Lutz. He is a passionate filmmaker and wanted to do something in this direction from an early age. I myself didn’t quite have the same focus at the beginning. After school I started and finished an apprenticeship as an advertising salesman. Then I worked for a film distributor in Berlin and then studied business administration at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. After graduating, I started working for Eitelsonnenschein and soon decided I wanted to advance the company.

Today, I am primarily driven by the way I deal with different projects and people as well as by my independence. I like to be my own boss. I enjoy working in a team. It's great to have the freedom to be independent. Coming here in the morning and knowing that I am doing this for Eitelsonnenschein and the people here is an unbeatable feeling.

How digital do you work yourself these days?

Actually, I'm working more analogously today than I did a few years ago. In meetings with clients we often scribble on paper. I also still have a sketchbook. Of course, I use digital tools like Evernote, but sometimes there are situations where it's simply better to write on paper, for example in meetings where an open laptop is sometimes annoying. However, the nice thing about it these days, is that you have a choice.

What is the most important development in your business at the moment?

This is definitely the subject of virtual reality, which I only came across by chance. An acquaintance put virtual reality glasses on me in a restaurant and said that I should have seen it. Today, we have our own virtual reality department in-house and it's incredible what it produces. This has brought us many big customers. The feedback from our network is great, which is why we will be founding our own sister company soon.

What kind of content do you create with this team and for which customers?

Recently, we have virtually illustrated all 18 Bundesliga stadiums for the German Football League. In the future, we will combine real film with games - so-called gamification. This is a huge playground and we are only at the beginning of our developments. For Deutsche Bahn we have developed an animation with the figure of the small ICE for smartphones, so that children can be better entertained during train journeys. And for Deutsche Telekom, we have created a livestream of a basketball game from different angles. We have also worked for Porsche and Volkswagen. Is that enough name-dropping?

These are all very large companies in Germany. Is virtual reality especially big in Germany?

It's forming. If we continue to step on the gas pedal at this point, Germany can become an important location for virtual reality.

"Our customers expect the hosting to be simple and they can trust us."

The film industry had already digitised itself before you took over the management of Eitelsonnenschein. What changes have you seen in your time at the company?

A lot of things have become more manageable and filming in more accessible than before. It’s a similar situation in the photography field. Thanks to smartphones almost anyone can take hundreds of photos. Another change is that the archiving of material for customers has migrated to the cloud, because hardly anyone can afford their own servers. We have to make sure that the customer has access to their material, sometimes for years, if they pay for the archive costs. If not, we hand the film material over to the customer after one year.

Are your customers interested in where you host content?

Our customers simply expect us to send them the material quickly and expect that they can have continuous access to it. Customers don't arrive and ask us where we are actually hosting. Our customers expect hosting to be easy and want to know they can trust us. Especially now with virtual reality, because the content is in the cloud and no longer on a DVD or USB stick. The same applies to live streaming. Stable performance is essential here - and Host Europe is a very reliable partner in this respect.

Why did you choose Host Europe? Because they are also from Cologne?

That wasn't the main reason, but of course it made the decision easier. It also enabled us to take on the responsibility that we have for the region as a company and strengthen Cologne as a location. An employee recommended Host Europe to us, because we couldn't get any further with our mini-solutions when it came to hosting. We needed a reliable partner who could offer us and our customers the security of always having access to the content we produced. I'm not an expert on hosting, it just has to work. If there was a problem, we could call and know that Host Europe would help us quickly.