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Q&A: Jesús Perezagua, Fox International Channels

Fox now offers a wide range of channels in EMEA, including FX, Fox Crime and National Geographic. Jesús Perezagua, president Fox International Channels Europe and Africa, talked to Digital TV Europe about the company’s plans.

What are your strategic priorities for the next year?

Our number one priority is always to offer our affiliate and advertising partners and our viewers the best channels with the best programming – whether that be epic non-fiction specials on National Geographic or the latest hit fiction series on Fox. In line with that, expanding the distribution of our existing channels and launching new feeds remains one of our top goals. We’re constantly targeting opportunities in all of our markets that will allow us to bring our brands and our programming to viewers. Africa is one region we’re currently looking at closely. At the moment we have eight African feeds – Fox, FX, Fox Retro, NGC, NatGeo Wild, NatGeo Adventure, Fuel and Baby TV – cumulatively distributed across 45 countries and we’re hoping to build on that with a particular emphasis on expanding the reach of our entertainment channels.

What plans have you to launch further new channels?

Localised feeds and HD channels are another way for us to bring quality to the market and offer viewers an improved viewing experience. So we’re actively pursuing these across our regions. In Spain for example, we launched Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Wild HD in October. At the same time, we’re also looking to selectively grow our channel bouquet where it’s appropriate. 24Kitchen is a new food channel that launched in the Netherlands in October featuring a mix of local programmes with local hosts and some of the best international food programming. It’s a concept we’re enthusiastic about.

Which markets are proving fruitful for launches?

Localisation is key for us – and that applies corporately as well. So we really depend on our local offices and our relationships with our local affiliate partners to determine what channels are best for each particular market and when the timing is right. Following this approach we’ve been able to launch new channels over the past year in more mature markets like the Nordics – where we launched Fox Crime in Norway in March – and in markets like Poland, Bulgaria and the Balkans. In Portugal, we have 12 channels but we’re constantly talking with our affiliate partners to see what the market wants next. In terms of channels, Fox and National Geographic Channel are our flagship brands and we think they are some of the best channels in the market. And that drive for quality is shared by all our brands.

How are the Fox channels positioned on pay TV platforms?

The positioning of our channels is ultimately down to the needs of each market and affiliates and we work closely with them to make sure each of our channels is positioned most effectively.

What plans if any do you have for multi-device distribution?

Our primary focus is developing our core pay TV business, and we’re working with our affiliate partners to distribute our channels across multiple platforms as and where it complements the existing business. At the same time, we have developed some web-only content such as the short series The Cell and most recently The Booth that have allowed us to reach viewers directly and this is something we will continue to explore.

How satisfied are you with your current revenue model?

We’re happy – but not satisfied – with where our business is now. We’re always looking for new opportunities and we’re always on the lookout for changes in the market that might impact our business. We’re growing our local and pan-regional advertising and localised channels – some with local content such as 24Kitchen – allow us to tap into local advertising budgets effectively. We think our channel bouquet is very attractive for advertisers and new channels allow us to offer them even more – in terms of audiences, but also customized packages with sponsorship and product placement opportunities.

How important is it to develop own-produced content?

We’re producing and co-producing more and more of our content. In fiction, we joined AMC in the US as the international partner on The Walking Dead – which has been a huge success for both of us and we’ll premiere season II globally on our channels on October 17 the day after it premieres on AMC. We’re also producing local content for National Geographic and for our lifestyle channels in Europe. This is making us truly local in a way we haven’t been before and it allows us to exploit our content across all platforms. It’s something we’ll continue to do more of.

Tags: Fox

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