Jetix Europe CEO Looks For New Revenue Models

By | December 11, 2006 | Broadcasting, Europe, Feature, Telecom

Jetix Europe, one of the key kids and youth entertainment providers to direct-to-home (DTH) platforms around the globe, has had a busy 2006 but is not expecting strong growth in terms of new markets in 2007, according to Paul Taylor, the company’s CEO.

"We are likely to see a slowing of the rate of the growth," Jetix said. "We are already in every country in Europe, bar Portugal. There are no big new territories to add. If you look at territories like the U.K. and other western European territories, you are relying on the growth of digital TV penetration there. In Central and Eastern Europe, as the economies grow and countries go into the [European Union], the demand for pay-TV will increase dramatically, and obviously we will see an increase in homes there," he said.

The one country that could see growth is France, Taylor said. French DTH market. "There is one market in Western Europe where we could gain a boost," he said. "In France, you have the takeover of TPS by Canalsat. We were only on Canalsat, so there is a potential upside for us in France."

Jetix also will continue to see solid growth on satellite platforms, despite the emergence of new distribution platforms to access digital content. "I remember when analog satellite first launched a couple of decades ago," he said. "Terrestrial TV is still doing very well. I think digital TV launched in the U.K. in 1998. Obviously, BSkyB have been very successful, but we haven’t seen ITV disappear yet. What you will see as the younger audiences grow older, is it will be the norm for them to use alternative media."

Jetix also benefits from its partnership with Walt Disney, which was particularly helpful, when Jetix renewed its deal with BSkyB earlier this year, Taylor said. The partnership with Walt Disney "has worked on a multitude of different levels," he said. "Everything from coproducing programming to understanding the benefits of brand marketing and even exchanging staff. The relationship with Disney is a very strong one. We will continue to build that relationship. We have negotiated alongside the Disney Group for the Sky deal to improve our negotiating strength there."

New Models

The channel provider is looking at new models, away from just providing its channels to pay-TV operators. Jetix recently launched an advertiser-supported broadband video service in the Netherlands, and already has had 4 million downloads. In terms of the importance of broadband now, Taylor said, "We are looking at variety of options for our other territories. I do believe a sophisticated broadband site is an important element within our portfolio. We just want to make sure we get it right when we launch it into other territories. I think it will evolve. It is important that we create the content that people want in the way they want. The exciting thing about working in the kids and youth space is that it is changing all the time."

With more DTH subscribers having access to personal video recorders and using the technology to skip advertisements, the challenge is to come up with new advertising models, Taylor said.

"I think where businesses like ours can see a significant upside going forward is the ability for us to allow our commercial partners, the advertisers to have a much more in-depth and specifically targeted relationship with our consumers," Taylor said. "Even now, we are doing deals with toy advertisers where they have 30 second spots on the channel, but you might have a microsite on the Web site. They may have a section within the magazine. They may licence some of our characters to use on computer games and that sort of thing. I think more and more you will have advertisers trying to communicate with their target audience on a variety of different levels."

One of the big buzz terms in the content industry this year has been user-generated content, and Taylor admits that Jetix is looking as to how it can incorporate user- generated content into what the company offers.

"I think if you talk to some of the kids that are involved in this, it is clear there is almost as much fun in creating the content as there is in watching it," Taylor said. "If you look at the number of pieces of content, which are uploaded onto YouTube, there are very few of them that get a significant number of views. I think there is an interest from kids in terms of creating their own content. I think that is something that may well be included in our broadband offering once we have refined that proposition, but I don’t think in any shape or form that it will replace completely the professionally created content. I think within the younger kids arena, it is a different element all together. What is attractive to kids is their ability to actually be part of the content."

Contact, Jo Hadfield, Jetix Europe, e-mail, Jo.Hadfield@jetix.net

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