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The Euro50 Q&A: Emma Scott, Freesat

Under managing director Emma Scott’s leadership free-to-air DTH platform Freesat has become the UK’s fastest growing TV service. It recently sold its two millionth unit, far exceeding original sales projections and taking gross retail sales to £1 billion (€1.2 billion) since launch in May 2008. The platform offers more than 150 TV, radio and interactive channels, including five free HD channels from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and NHK, as well as access to BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

Age 43

Education Politics degree from the University of Hull and an MBA from Bradford Management School.

Previous positions I started my career in the House of Commons as a Parliamentary researcher and manager, then made the move into media strategy in Australia, before joining the BBC corporate strategy team. I spent five years working for the Director General (Greg Dyke), during which time I was the launch director for Freeview, the UK’s largest TV platform and ran the BBC’s first IPTV service.  Since 2007 I have been Freesat’s managing director, setting up the business and leading the company since launch.

Last year’s highlights Freesat hitting two million sales in the space of only three years was a real highlight for me and my team. Reaching this milestone confirmed our place as the fastest-growing TV platform in the UK and that we had beaten all our original sales projections. Our success is testament to our first class small team which has delivered Freesat’s success. My leadership style is to outline a vision, be clear about what’s needed and why – then set stretching targets, step back and see what happens. Great teams thrive on a challenge and often the best results come after encountering hurdles along the way.  I’m privileged to work with an amazing management team who really understand and support the ambition behind Freesat. Much of 2011 has also been spent preparing for the launch of our next generation service – due to launch in early 2012. These are incredibly exciting times for Freesat and of course our customers.

Most significant industry developments The power of the second screen in the living room has really come into its own this past year.  ‘Convergence’ and the multi-screen concept have been much talked about, but we’re just beginning to seeing consumers realising the benefits now, and demanding it as a part of their television experience. The possibilities and doors this opens for the whole industry are already significant and they are set to grow even further in the years to come.

Goals for next year To successfully launch our next generation product and for consumers to love it. To continue to grow the number of Freesat homes and to continue to offer a great, free alternative for people who want the best in satellite TV. Despite being the newest brand in the market we’ve continued to challenge the conventions of the category and its dominant players, growing at rate of knots and outstripping the competition on a fraction of the resources.

Industry challenges and opportunities For most I’m sure it will be delivering growth in tough economic times – I would add that whilst times are tough, innovation brand loyalty and customer service will remain key to long term success in the TV market. We’re seeing increasing power being exerted by consumers in the face of increased competition and choice – and in my view it is the brands that are trusted which consistently offer great service which will ultimately succeed.

Alternative career choice A Hollywood film producer.

TV character most identified with Sarah Lund in The Killing from Denmark’s public service broadcaster DR, on BBC Four in the UK – but only for her investigative skills!

Most admired personality This year it’s without a doubt, Steve Jobs, but I also value amazing women like Mary Portas.  Great customer service and ensuring people feel like they’ve been well treated is so pivotal to customer acquisition and retention.

Life outside work I enjoy life to the full.  And tweet @emmaemmascott.

Tags: Freesat, UK

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