Sunday, September 26, 2004

Dutch Mediatycoon De Mol is breeding up new strategy

John de Mol released himself of his ties at Endemol at the beginning of this year. Famous for a combined talent for business as well as creating television formats, it is the uphand of his business obligations at Telefonica owned Endemol, that made him very tired. That and the suffocating success of Big Brother, which became his own golden cage. But we do not need to be sorry for John de Mol for he has cashed in on his success twice in the last four years making him a biljonair mediatycoon. So ' everybody' has been waiting for what he is going to do next with his private capital that by Forbes is estimated at 1,6 billion Euro.
A truck load full of people are allready offering him his services and proclaiming they definitely want to work for him.
It seems he has endless choice and possibilities? Last week he has sought up publicity with his deal to fill the eveningslots of Nickelodeon in the Netherlands ( The reach of Nickelodeon in the Netherlands territory is 97%. He has bought up the rights of all away games of the National League (for an estimated all high of ninehundred thousand Euro per play). In 1996 John de Mol had to swollow his loss at trying to start up Sport 7. A national commercial sports channel. It did not work out. I think: The reasons not being that people did not want to have a sports channel, as is much presumed. But.. It had to happen to fast. For a succesfull sportschannel you need most of the leading leagues. It takes time to secure these rights. So Sport 7 did not have those rights to start with and to much airtime had to be filled with sportevents of the lower leagues. And you may even do that, take up an unknown event or sport, market it very cleverly and make it very big, as was done with darts by SBS 6 in the Netherlands (and boy did they pay nothing when they first started airing this). Anyway Sport7 missed a clearly worked out sender profile, good formats and keen marketing to help bring interest in several sports and the schedule up. Remaining is the basic idea of a sports channel in a sportloving country as the Netherlands.. which is still very strong. It seems now John de Mol can take time to build up his channel. He aims at two broad family networks. Maybe one male skewed with sports and the other more female/ family skewed. In the Netherlands everything John de Mol does attracts a lot of attention, opinion and publicity.

But, what most got most of my interest last week, where his remarks on convergence in "Adformatie" (39, 23 september 2004): "I am convinced that - and I seem to be alone in this - the TV market will change dramatically the next coming years. Digitalising, cable, broadband internet, new platforms. The good news being that another business model is emerging. A part of the business will always be GRP based, but I see advertisers massively on the look out for new ways of communicating other then the 20 seconds spots."

His remarks on how this will work now where even more interesting: "On the forefront there will be a great free-to-air TV station, generating mass. It will work as a net where all fish will swim into. The first magnet will be a grand populair television programm reaching one million viewers, and that will be narrowed further more, where there will be a better focused and more profound interest in the communication. At the end of the narrowing net there will be one-to-one communication, by means of gsm, internet or whatever. In Holland I want to create an ideal convergence model. Radio, tv and content will play a role in that. You do not need to own these channels, because there is no scarcity. You do need to be in control of the scarce elements, such as creativity".

I don't think he is the only on who thinks this way, I do agree anyway and my experiences are similar that there is not much awareness of the fast changing medialandscape in the Netherlands! Especially his last remarks tend toward a better view on crossmedia communication. I do agree with de Mol on his analysis of a changing landscape. There are many turtles in this market, they will not be able to speed up to new developments and will be left behind. I like turtles by the way, I like the slow way they move. They will be great in their own trend, the slow motion.

I like his remarks on convergence, the narrowing net does present a lot of my ideas on crossmedia communication. But it is a broad view and the proof will be in the production of a truly inspiring crossmedia format. Currently I am working on at least three formats.
I am looking for a channel that is willing to negotiate on this...