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Central European Media Enterprises’s strategy: key notes from Co-CEO

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Central European Media Enterprises is a media and entertainment company operating leading businesses in primarily six Central and Eastern European markets: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. 36 television channels are broadcasted to approximately 50 million people across  six markets. The company also develops and produces content for their television channels. Content is also distributed to third parties, both within the region and globally. The main shareholder is Time Warner company.

Here we propose you to get acquinted with an interview of Christoph Mainush, the Co-CEO of Central European Media Enterprises and Executive Director & CEO of Nova Group

 

Since you’ve joined CME, the company has often been described as being on the path of steady recovery. Would you phrase it that way? How do you assess the current state of the company?

It was clear that the turnaround will take more than one year. There were a couple of items we focused on: maintain our clear audience leadership in all our territories, improve our advertising revenue results in the Czech Republic by introducing a revised sales policy, better manage our program inventory, apply a high cost discipline, concentrate on our core activities and divest non-core assets, and restructure the company so it’s more lean and efficient.

We’ve accomplished all these goals and strengthened our leading market position – a solid base for our future growth. 

What do you see as the most important step in the right direction for your company?

Regaining market share in the Czech Republic was the number one operational priority. Another strategic priority was to secure carriage and subscription fees. It is important to have built a second revenue stream. Today, carriage and subscription fees are approximately 12% of our consolidated net revenues, and about approximately 25% of net revenues in Bulgaria and Romania.

What is CME’s answer to digital era?

The success of CME is built on providing premium content to our viewers on all platforms, whenever and wherever. Besides our free- and pay-TV linear offers this includes a portfolio of thematic websites, seven-day catch-up services (AVOD) and our SVOD-offer, which is a leading premium subscription based video-on-demand-service with more than 150,000 users across our six markets. 

What impact do new TV measurements have on Group’s advertising strategy?

As we reach our audience on all digital platforms, and not only on linear distribution, it is important that the measurement systems reflect this change in viewer’s media consumption. It is essential for content providers like us to be able to report and monetize our full viewership and not only a part of it.

Which of the CME markets do you see as biggest success? Conversely, which one faces biggest challenges?

Although all of our markets are different they all have one aspect in common: we clearly lead in all of our markets, both in audience performance as well as television advertising revenue.

Does CME plan to add new channels to its portfolio? Or new services?

We constantly review our portfolio of channels. Recently we have launched an additional pay sport channel, Nova Sport 2, in the Czech Republic to complement our sports program offer. We’ve also introduced two new channels in the beginning of the year, Nova International and Markiza International.

 

Do you think that today’s TV market is oversaturated with content?

I wouldn’t say oversaturated. The markets answer the demand from audiences and further diversify. You don’t see launches of main general interest channels. New entries are mainly specialized and thematic offers, free and pay.

Do you find such immense offering a challenge, both for audience and advertisers?

Increased competition and more channels always constitute a bigger challenge. The digital development, however, has not jeopardized TV consumption. The opposite is the case. TV is stronger than ever. Digitization offers a lot of new opportunities. The challenge was to realize and capitalize on this trend and make content offers available on all platforms. The advertising market has obviously reacted to this change in consumption: we estimate that in our markets the share of TV and online advertising of the total ad spent has increased from 52% in 2006 to 71% in 2015.

Do you think that new technologies help content find its way to audiences? Or are they unnecessary distractions?

Media consumption has changed by new technologies. Ultimately the consumers decide whether or not to accept a certain technology.

You have spent your whole carrier as a media industry insider. What do you see as the most important changes, those that were most beneficial for professionals and consumers alike? And what do you wish has never happened / was invented?

As stated above: digitization has diversified the media landscape but opposite to many projections it has strengthened TV.

What do you watch in your private time? What are your favorite shows?

All of our new local programs.

Christoph Mainush has been announced as the Keynote Speaker during NEM 2016, where he will deliver his speech in June.