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The Euro50 Q&A: Mike Moriarty, Chellomedia

Chellomedia’s Mike Moriarty talks to DTVE about how his company has strengthened its porfolio of 13 channels, with new launches throughout the central Europe region. The broadcaster has over the last year secured key content deals and relaunched some of its brands.

Age 51

Job title Managing director, Chellomedia, central Europe and managing director Chello Benelux

Previous positions Director of finance, Kabelkom: managing director of UPC Slovakia and Romania and CEO of UPC in Hungary; managing director of investments and corporate development for UPC.

Life outside work I love family life, and with my wife and two children, aged 4 and 6 years, I like to spend as much time as possible doing things together. We have a house in Croatia, so we try to get there as much as we can. I also have a passion for horses, and own a couple of race horses.

Achievements of 2012 We have had a very good and highly active year in both At Media and Chello Central Europe. I am really proud of the achievement of the teams there. We have been very focussed on strengthening our 13 channel portfolio, and we have achieved that through executing clear and focused enhancements to programming, brand and distribution. Good examples of this are winning a competitive bid for the Champions  League rights for Sport 1, extending our factual brand Spektrum to include our Lifestyle channel, Deko, now re-launched as Spektrum Home, and re-launching our entertainment and move brands as Film Café and Film Mania. We have also secured some great programming deals with some of the best international distributors including BBC Worldwide, which include programming we believe is highly relevant for our audiences; we have also extended the reach of our channels through distribution deals throughout the region, in particular in Slovenia. Chellomedia also acquired MGM Networks in August 2012 and this included in our region MGM Central Europe which we now own and operate 100%, as well as the MGM Poland which is a majority owned JV with ITI Neovision. The MGM channel is a great addition to our movie and entertainment portfolio here. At Media has had a good year in a tough environment and we continue to build out our business there successfully with a great set of international channels as clients; we are really proud of what we have built with At Media.

Most significant industry developments Undoubtedly, TV Everywhere and the true arrival of the second screen. The ability of platforms to stream their channels and content to multiple devices through closed networks is a significant industry shift that reaches though the value chain, from infrastructure, consumer electronics and devices, to distributors, channel producers such as ourselves, and, of course, the customers and consumers of TV. Whilst other European countries are more advanced with these deployments, these services are beginning to be rolled out in central Europe and I am pleased to say that we focussed on this early on, to ensure that our channel bouquet continued to work well with the platform partners as they gave their subscribers new ways to enjoy TV, both linear and non-linear. We are already across this in Holland where Chello Benelux and our premium services Film1 and Sport1 have launched new services that are accessible on multiple devices.

Key challenges for 2013 We are in a tough economic climate in Europe; whilst the impact varies from country to country, it is undoubtedly impacting advertising budgets as well as household income. This is a challenge for some TV channels, depending on their dependency on advertising. Many significant TV brands are having to face delivering the same with a much lower cost base; this is very challenging for many free-to-air operators. Consumers of TV have a lot of choices as to how, when and what they watch; the pay TV industry needs to respond to this, effectively and dynamically.

Goals for next year We have quite a few in both Benelux and in central Europe. We are very keen in both regions to work with our partner operators in creative ways so our channels respond to the increasing functionality of the platforms and video offerings. We are also keen to develop the reach of some new initiatives such as Film1Go, which allows subscribers to access Film1’s library of international movie and TV titles on a number of devices including iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone/tablets and PC/Mac. Overall, we are very keen to identify new areas of investment, and merger and acquisition opportunities in both Benelux and central Europe.

Favourite  TV show Homeland. It is a rare combination of relevance to the age we live in, great writing, casting, acting, with a weekly cliff hanger.

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