Dear colleagues and partners, dear Members, dear friends,
I’m very honoured to open, with you all, this EBU-TV Assembly 2021.
Just like you, I deeply regret that we could not hold this year’s Media Summit in person and meet for real. Yet, I know that EBU teams have been busy and are delivering a very exciting schedule.
The past year has shaken our organizations in ways never seen before. But during the crisis, television has been a central meeting-point in all households, bringing social cohesion and a North Star during times of anxiety and uncertainty. Public Service Media have come along much stronger than before the pandemic.
In the meantime, the crisis has also hit our economies hard. Public funding has become a central sometimes vital issue in many countries. In addition, it has driven a greater embrace of an “all-digital” lifestyle. Therefore, I deeply believe this is a crucial time for us to regroup, to think together and act together. More aggressively! It’s today, my friends, that we need to push even harder. This time deliberately together. I don’t want, in a few years from now, to watch back a missed opportunity, having failed to embrace a much closer cooperation. It’s now, or never, dear friends!
So, it’s very simple: only a stronger alliance, through cooperation and solidarity, will allow us to really compete with our aggressive challengers, US and Chinese platforms. Of course, we must work harder together to safeguard against the increasing risk of disintermediation from platforms, device makers and telcos. On these topics, we already began working hard in much more lobbying in Brussels: One of my first tasks as a new EBU-president has been to seek a strong consensus among our Members on positions to defend in front of Commissioners Vestager and Breton, but also members of European Parliament. Europe should be a real level playing field. We will continue.
But it is also of utmost importance to continue to be the go-to partners for creators and producers. Between local and global markets, we believe there is room for a European market.
My next priority has been to set-up earlier this year a co-production task-force. The EBU network is in fact a real incubator for co-productions: Think about the Eurovision Song Contest, the News Exchange, the Sports rights catalogue, and very soon the very promising digital News Pilot initiative and the OTT Sports platforms.
What are we gaining here? It’s very simple: · >Audience scaling and impact · >Diversity and Inclusion · >Efficiency · >Innovation & best practices · All of this with an amazing brand: “EUROVISION”!
My message to you today is an appeal to all of you to use the EBU and the Eurovision brand even more to explore every opportunity, to co-produce and to exchange content more than ever. For the last few weeks, this new co-production task force is already exploring what more can be done together.
Many of you will discuss this more in detail later today, but to summarize briefly, we’re interested in:
> Whether high-end drama series -which are produced by major PSM commissioners such as the European Alliance, or the Nordvision Alliance- can be made available on a pre-sale basis to EBU Members before they are commercialized.
> Whether the Eurovision brand itself can be mobilized in other co-production and exchange contexts such as drama youth content or documentary. In doing so, we are positioning the PSM-network as an actor on the market but also on the map of the funders, such as the European Commission.
> Whether we can work on a European alliance on co-productions with platforms. The goal would be to have a common vision on rights (a minimum number of months in linear and digital), investment and territories, for example.
> How to address talent retention by leveraging our collective resources. We must retain access to our top creative and technical talents which might otherwise disappear from our screens. Pooled resources from the EBU network makes a strong answer to this threat.
I believe we have reached a critical point in the evolution of the media landscape, Again, working together, and coordinating around collaboration may be our last chance to access top-end drama in particular. Therefore, I’m inviting again you, my peers and the senior management of EBU Member organizations to join me in engaging in these very needed international collaborations. I strongly believe that this the time and the right place for it. The time is now, and the place is through the EBU TV-network.
As this Assembly will also be a time for elections: I would like to thank all the leaving committee members who have been actively on board, for their time, their help and their vision. I would also like to support all the newcomers. Thank you for engaging in this international challenge. I know how much the commitment to an EBU-mandate may be demanding yet it’s also very rewarding, believe me. The connections made with fellow professionals make a precious platform for projects … and also for friendship.
I wish you all a good EBU TV Assembly 2021. A bientôt!