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Fremantle CEO in scripted drive

MIPCOM: FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz wants 50% of the American Idol company’s revenue to come from scripted programming in five years.

Cecile Frot-Coutaz

Cecile Frot-Coutaz

Frot-Coutaz told delegates here in Cannes she wanted to “ramp up” Fremantle’s scripted sector and hoped to go on “scaling” the company while building across new genres.

“Right now, about 30% of our revenues are from scripted but in five years I would like it to be 50%,” she said in her keynote speech today. “We are really ramping up scripted, it’s making a resurgence on traditional TV.”

She added: “In the future, we’ll have to be investing more of our own capital. If we’re going have to take on more risk, we need to have more scale. Scale matters.”

The comments come as Fremantle, known for its big budget entertainment formats like Idols, Got Talent and The X Factor, today announced a deal with the China-based web portal Youku, furthering its intentions in the digital space.

Last month, Fremantle acquired a minority stake in Divimove, the largest multi-channel network in Germany. Fremantle parent, European broadcast giant RTL Group, also bought into Vancouver-based online video company BroadbandTV in July this year.

“We’re very bullish on digital,” said Frot-Coutaz today. “Our view is that you cannot ignore the views, creativity or economics” – either in the short- or long-term. “The time [young people] spend watching TV has gone from four to two hours. As a company we want to make a play quickly and quite aggressively.”

Asked about her recent decision to restructure the business and eliminate some senior staff, the CEO added: “I don’t like big centres. I don’t like overhead.” She added that it was healthy for companies to change their structure every five years.

“We used to have a structure where it was production on one side and enterprise on the other and I don’t think Fremantle would be where it is today if wasn’t for that. But things change.”

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