Look abroad for content profit

Three CEOs told delegates here they should be more aggressive on international growth. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Liberty Global boss Mike Fries and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman all said international strength was a vital factor in their stock rising over the past 12 months.

Zaslav told the audience: “This past year, we made more money internationally than we did as a whole company seven years ago.”

Fries said ambitious programmers were vital to Liberty Global, which just closed a $24 billion acquisition of Virgin Media, netting the company 25 million total customers, 90 per cent of whom are in Europe. “We need greater partnership with our programmers, especially US-based programmers,” Fries said. “We’re finding that the free-to-air broadcasters in Europe that really dominate viewership and own a lot of the best content are our go-to partners when it comes to catch-up TV and VoD so the message I would give people here is, be aggressive and work with us in the same way you work with operators here.”

Viacom’s Dauman said programming was becoming multicultural. “We’re finding more and more that content created around the world is going all over the world.” He cited Viacom’s partnership in Colors, a network created in India which is now also carried in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

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