Mr. Campanini, over two years have passed since Viacom acquired Telefe. Can you now say that you have achieved the goals that were set following the merger?
Two years after the acquisition the result is astonishing. We have succeeded improving the performance of our brands and launched Viacom International Studios, in order to develop, commercialize and distribute content around the world. While we continue working on the aspects related to the merger, we have to emphasize on the fact that Telefe kept its 1 position and led the 12 months of the year 2018 convincingly. For its part, MTV saw a growth of +14% in Argentina driven by the synergies with Telefe and Nickelodeon increased its share with double-digits (+11%) in Argentina. As regards our cinema business, the year as well has been quite intense with 7 out of the 10 bestselling movies coproduced by our company.
What were the main changes that took place at Telefe after it became part of Viacom?
We have successfully completed a reorganization of the teams, which facilitates the interaction between the different areas of business – content production, distribution and the different broadcasting brands. This allowed us to strengthen and transform our company into one of the most important media groups in the region.
Tell us about the benefits of running one of the most-watched FTA channels in Latin America and one of the biggest pay TV groups in the region?
First, I would like to stress that this division between free and pay TV does not exist for us anymore. Now, we are Viacom International Media Networks in the South Cone and thus we have been able to strengthen our brands (Telefe, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Comedy Central, Paramount Channel and VH1) and expand the business and operations of the company. The merger aimed to enable us to create a model for production, distribution and commercialization of content and we are making this possible through our new Viacom International Studios. This is how we have turned into a content powerhouse for brands, in Argentina and the region.
100 Días para Enamorarse
You are also actively investing in your digital presence. What have been your main achievements in this segment in 2018?
This is an excellent question because a part of the evolution of the industry requires many changes in the consumption of content and for that reason, we, at Viacom, are committed to being a multiplatform enterprise. It is our objective to engage the audience thru a reliable premium environment delivering events, digital content, theatrical works, films and live coverage. Our social media reach more than 850 million followers and subscribers on a global level. This year, more than 100 million hours of Viacom content were watched on all screens. The multiplatform business of the company includes a great variety of products such as apps like MTV Play, Nick Play, Comedy Central Play, Mi Telefe and Telefe Noticias; on-demand products like Nick First and My Nick Jr., and SVOD services like Noggin, besides our websites.
Are you planning to launch any new SVOD services in the region?
Viacom already operates SVOD services in the region. Noggin is the official app of Nick Jr. created to entertain and educate the kids aged 2-6 years with content in Spanish 100% sure that they will be able to learn and entertain themselves the way they want. Since its launch, Noggin has registered a stable growth and soon we will see how the novelties will facilitate even greater increase.
Viacom International Studios is now among the biggest producers in the region producing content not only for the Viacom group but also for other players in Latin America. Could you mention some of the key projects for 2019?
Viacom International Studios (VIS) is one of the key units of Viacom in its strategy to lead the production and distribution of Latino content around the world. The power of VIS includes 14 studios and three production powerhouses present in USA, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. VIS has achieved a strong increase in closed pre-sales with regional players like FOX, Amazon and Netflix, to mention a few.
The merger with Viacom allowed us to give a new impulse and strength to our content on a global scale. VIS combines the power and capacity of production of Telefe in Argentina and Porta dos Fundos in Brazil, with the global presence of Viacom, to become an important player in the business of development, production and distribution of content in Latin America and the rest of the world. The global sales of VIS include original productions, coproductions, format rights, ready-made content and third-party titles. The VIS content spans across all genres – from telenovelas to drama, from Telefe, short comedy from Porta dos Fundos, the cinematographic productions of Telefe and the original content of Viacom.
Telefe has been the undisputed leader in Argentina during the past year. To what do you attribute this success?
Under the slogan that “Content is King”, we have had an excellent 2017 and an incredible 2018 in terms of audience and share. We have produced content of very high quality like La Voz Argentina (The Voice), 100 Días para Enamorarse, Familias Frente a Frente (Family Food Fight), Sandro de América, the specials of Susana, Morir de Amor, to mention a few. Each of these shows has been the leader in its slot positioning Telefe as the most-important channel in the country, which ranked 1 in Argentina during the past six years. This year, we strengthened this leadership with the biggest gap to our direct competitor in the past two years in terms of share. Moreover, we keep on increasing our commercial relationships, and deliver high quality results to our clients, as our show’s share and total TV share were a total success.
How important is the development of original content both free and pay TV for the growth of the group?
Bearing in mind that the demand for high-quality content is increasing, the approach of VIS is to generate more content with our own intellectual property for global distribution and to keep the majority of rights for international distribution. At Viacom International Studios, we are developing many projects that are part of the strategy to roll out content on a global level. We are planning to increase the hours of production and grow the international sales of our catalog. We have seen the most recent example with the local success of 100 Días para Enamorarse, one of the biggest hits of the year in Argentina, which now begins to travel internationally with the sale of the format to Mega in Chile. Another title is Sres. Papis, which is enjoying tremendous success in Europe and the Middle East.
To achieve this result, we have been investing for the last two years in order to increase our technology and deliver high quality content, according to the standard levels that the international market requires.
How would you describe the current state on the Argentinean market?
As a country, Argentina had some economic difficulties in 2018 that has stabilized by the end of year. However, at Viacom South Cone we have been very successful through a strong increase of our market share for Telefe and the pay TV channels while we continue consolidating the operations of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) - Américas and Telefe.
Now, our brands - MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount Channel and Telefe, are operated by VIMN Américas. Telefe had an excellent year, maintaining its leadership month after month. Besides the Telefe productions, we are also taking advantage of the synergies between our brands using the original Viacom formats. For example, Comedy Central’s Drunk History has enjoyed great success on Telefe and as a coproduction with our partners from Cablevision Flow. MTV Argentina recently posted its best ratings for the past 8 years as result of the various initiatives of joint production and programming with Telefe.
The industry is in a state of transition. The world of entertainment is in an evolution process with an increased volume of content consumption and a growing number of platforms offering content. The consumer now becomes a protagonist and takes an active part in this process. There are notable opportunities to sell content globally. Convergence is key but everything starts from the creation of quality content. The differences between the digital, TV, graphic and radio platforms are disappearing.
Sandro de America
Turkish series continue to play an important role in the region. Are you planning any joint projects with partners from Turkey?
On our platforms, the Turkish series have been performing excellently. However, now we do not have any such projects in development, but we do not exclude partnering with the principal producers of Turkey in the future.