»That is the beauty of the brand name: join us and start creating new formats for this platform.«
Group CEO Bert Habets interviewed by Klaas Heufer-Umlauf
The Russian war against Ukraine obviously had a huge impact on the economy, especially in our core market. Inflation rates and energy prices went up, causing a very difficult second half of the year across our whole Group. So, when I started in November, I immediately joined my Executive Board colleagues to manage the company very actively on the result basis.
Absolutely. Besides continuing to innovate and launch new formats, a very positive note for me was the launch of our own newsroom on January 1, for which we have been gearing up last year. We now produce the news for our channels and platforms such as Joyn ourselves. Having a news organization inside your organization creates new ideas for programming and for us it's very important to add an independent news organization in the German landscape. In general, it’s crucial that we can offer a platform for socially relevant themes and create an audience for that. We take our corporate and social responsibility seriously. That’s why we are committed to supporting the formation of opinions and promotion of democracy, championing diversity and equality as well as advancing climate and environmental protection, among other things.
Joyn was part of a joint venture with Discovery for many years. We onboarded Joyn 100% on the first day of my start as CEO, on November 1. Now we are in control of our own destiny in developing the service. That’s not an easy assignment as there is a lot of competition in the streaming landscape, and many big players are not earning money. Thus, a huge industry challenge – while at the same time we see it as a big part of our future. To differentiate us, we position Joyn as a freely accessible service for the whole family in the premium content domain. We're at the very beginning to build this. Studio71 talents, TV presenters as well as industry partners such as producers, but also other broadcasters or publishers will be invited to join and bring in their creative ideas for premium programs. That is the beauty of the brand name: join us in this dialogue and start creating new formats for this platform.
Economically, we expect the first half of 2023 still to be very difficult, hopefully we will see a recovery in the second half of this year. We will continue our strategic dialogue throughout the year with all the colleagues, the capital market investors, but also business partners like advertisers and agencies. If you reflect and take one step back on us as a company, you can say that we are in the business of competing for leisure time. We want every minute of your leisure time to be spent on our services. So, maximizing this viewing time across TV, Joyn and all our digital offers is our goal. We generate revenues through the traditional way of selling advertising, but also through different monetization forms like subscription and commerce. We have a big Commerce & Ventures business, that interacts in a very creative and successful way with German entrepreneurs in building new businesses with the power of TV and our digital services. Even in a macro economic climate that will remain challenging, there will be new growth opportunities for our Commerce & Ventures business to create shareholder value. And our Dating & Video business is actually an extension of that.