Julian Newby: Why is it the right time for France to be Country Of Honour?
Gilles Pélisson: France is a country of creation: making movies was invented in France. And despite all the changes and challenges in our sector, television viewing in France is one of the highest in Europe, thanks to a rich and varied offer. France has authors, actors and producers whose talent is recognised throughout the world. So it seems natural to me that a creative territory like France should be honoured at the MIPTV, especially in Cannes!
> How is French content doing on the global marketplace?
GP: The international influence of French content has never been so strong. Much remains to be done, but 2018 is a record year for the export of French programmes. France has built a worldwide reputation in animation over many years, and drama and documenataries are growing in exports. Our stories are reaching more and more people beyond our borders and this evolution reflects the very strong creative dynamic that drives the entire French audiovisual sector.
> This year you created Unify to bring together the digital activities of the TF1 group. How is the strategy working?
GP: The creation of Unify was the logical next step following our major acquisitions in the digital world since 2016. We brought together all our digital companies (excluding OTT and Replay TV) around three businesses: publishers, brand solutions and services, and social media ecommerce. With a presence in 10 countries and more than 100 million unique visitors every month, Unify is today a major digital group built around federating content and services dedicated to female themes, cooking, health and entertainment. The creation of Unify will allow us to diversify our revenues streams with data and technology, social ecommerce and the subscription model.
> What is TF1’s strategy for the new TV landscape?
GP: Those who regularly announce the death of TV have not realised how much the TV media has changed, how much we have changed and how much we are alive. If there have been changes, there are more to come. What matters is the ability to adapt and to seize the opportunities. This has been our great success over the past years. We have accelerated our core broadcasting business transformation and boosted it with two new activities — Newen and Unify, which both have a great outlook. TF1 is no longer just an audiovisual group, it is now a major international media group and content creator, both on TV and digital. We can look forward confidently because I know we have all the best assets to tackle the coming years.
> You are speaking at MIPTV this year. What will the Cannes audience hear from you?
GP: I am very excited to share our vision of TV with everyone at MIPTV. At TF1 we are confident about the future of TV, a media that has no equivalent when it comes to sharing with the audience and creating social connections. We want to encourage creators to be bold. Our market is at a turning point and TF1, as a leader, wants to be a key player in the transformation of the sector. Talents who want to push boundaries will always find a good partner in the TF1 group, which is open to new alliances and willing to invest in new areas. And of course MIPTV means business to us and we are in Cannes with our TF1 International department and our subsidiary Newen. These two entities offer a solid line-up of French content that the most discerning buyers should not miss. I invite you to come and meet our teams and discover our programmes on our stands in the Palais des Festivals.
Gilles Pelisson’s keynote is on Monday, April 8 at 11.40 in the Debussy Theatre.