Paul Fournier, Head of Business Development and Digital, CH Media
Paul Fournier is Strategy executive with over 11 years of experience in project management, supervising digital marketing operations, devising innovative and impactful strategies, and identifying and unlocking cost/revenue synergies.
As a head of business development and digital at CH Media, what are the day-today responsibilities?
CH Media is divided into two main business units. One is news publishing; the other is entertainment. We have approximately 10 radio stations, five regional TV channels, eight national TV channels, and a streaming platform for our entertainment. We also have four regional news platforms that combine online radio with TV to bring the best of news to the top producers. I am in-charge of leading the digital platforms for our digital initiatives, and also head the business development unit.
Through our business development wing, we make meaningful partnerships to earn revenue. We partner with telecom providers to bundle our platform’s subscriptions and offer them as packages to their users. It is my responsibility to look over these partnerships.
What are some of the trends that you’re seeing in the industry?
Can you provide a good industry snapshot from your perspective? In recent years many big studios have started offering their video-on-demand (VOD) apps. They plan to release teasers of new content on these apps, analyse the audience hype around it and then release the full content in theatres.
Looking at the popularity of VOD apps and the diverse content they offer, consumers are spending more on these app subscriptions than they are on a telecom provider. But different platforms have different content. However, these trends vary depending on locations. For instance, the U.S. audience has an average of three or more subscriptions, whereas, in the Nordics and Europe, the number is generally below three.
Following this trend, I believe it is hard for individual platforms to survive right now. There are a few ways for them to survive; the easiest is to come up with great content. For example, if a studio has good content, it can profit by licensing those titles instead of keeping them on any platform.
Another way is to aggregate more services into one platform or merge with another to get more customer base. That is exactly what happened when Discovery+ and HBO Max merged. Discovery didn’t have a big library, which led them to merge with HBO Max.
“We are working in an industry that is fast-paced and competing with the likes of Netflix. One has to ensure if one can’t match the scale of a popular streaming brand, it needs to take advantage of its small and agile streaming platform the best way possible.”
Another example is Disney. They figured out their brand value quickly, but they lacked content. They did not have content to keep people engaged on the platform, so they collaborated with Hulu and ESPN+ to offer their audience a diverse content.
Could you give us an example of one of the latest initiatives or projects you’ve worked on recently?
Last year we launched a platform called Oneplus. The free version of this app offers multiple movies, series, documentaries, and highlights from CH Media’s television channel. We are constantly updating the library. For paid subscribers, we have two options: friends and family, and premium. With these subscriptions, people can have the additional benefits of completely going add-free, getting more top-class content, and gaining access to Swiss originals.
We launched this platform in partnership with Quickline, one of the top telecom providers. Quickline gave us a boost in terms of market awareness. This was important because we saw that the target groups that we were reaching with this collaboration were different from the ones we would organically.
Another partnership was with Sunrise, a leading telecom provider in Switzerland. Sunrise also has a partnership with UPC, a big telco player, giving us the number two position on the market. Collaboration with Sunrise gave us access to many TV and digital TV subscribers. We also got bundled into their premium packages, which was one of the best ways we could have managed to get high penetration in that market. We are still working very closely with Sunrise.
What advice would you offer to other senior leaders and C-suite executives?
Every company is different, and every environment is different. We are working in an industry that is fast-paced and competing with the likes of Netflix. One has to ensure if one can’t match the scale of a popular streaming brand, it needs to take advantage of its small and agile streaming platform in the best way possible. To do that, you need to know your customers very well. And secondly, always be ready to adapt to user expectations.
Big players might set a benchmark for the rest to follow, but it doesn’t mean you cannot innovate further and do things differently.