FAST Fest Spotlights Samsung TV Plus’s Content Strategies


Jennifer Batty, head of content acquisitions in Europe, and Aline Jabbour, business development director for Latin America, discussed their acquisition and partnership strategies for Samsung TV Plus at the FAST Festival today.

Batty and Jabbour participated in a keynote conversation with World Screen’s Kristin Brzoznowski, which you can watch here, articulating their approach to filling the needs of Samsung TV Plus, which delivers a slate of owned-and-operated and partner channels worldwide.

Samsung TV Plus is present in 16 European countries. “We’re a global business, but we look at each country individually,” Batty said. “What is the audience? What are their preferences? It is about local-language content; programs that that are relatable to you. It’s not just bringing in something from another country and throwing some subtitles on it. In Germany, it is about the local German action series and movies, whereas in the U.K., the Netherlands and the Nordics, English-language content works very well, and we can pick and choose from the action movies and other things there.”

Batty said the company looks to deliver about 120 channels in each territory in Europe. “We see that as a little bit of a sweet spot. It gives a wide variety of content; not too much, but enough that there is a wide assortment.”

Local partnerships are paramount, Batty noted, referencing pacts such as ones with RTVE in Spain and ZDF Studios in Germany. “We partner with the best content providers we can, both from a local perspective and an international perspective.”

Batty also pointed to the broad demographics Samsung TV Plus needs to serve. “We need to ensure that what we have is a wide, diverse offering of local content and then bring in some of the best international content.”

The company has content acquisition leads in key territories to ensure that local feel. “We work very closely with our local teams to ensure that we’re bringing the best local content in addition to international content.”

In Latin America, too, the core focus has been on delivering channels with a strong local identity, broad appeal and an experience that goes beyond just entertainment to provide a window into the world. Dubbed content is key, Jabbour added.

“If you want to offer a comfortable and relaxing experience similar to traditional TV, we have to carefully select content that provides that experience,” she said. “Sit, relax and enjoy TV without any commitment. We want to provide entertainment for the whole family. But at the same time, we know that some individuals prefer control over their own experience. So we have to make sure that we have a relevant journey for them.”

The LatAm lineup covers 75-plus channels, and includes partnerships with leading Mexican broadcasters TV Azteca and Televisa. In Brazil, there are more than 65 channels up and running, and Samsung TV Plus has worked with the likes of Globo and Record TV.

“Across the board, our ambition is to provide content that reflects the cultural identities of each country, goes beyond entertainment and ensures a high-quality viewing experience for families,” Jabbour said.

As for what they’re eyeing right now, Batty said that in Europe, a priority is “to dig deeper into our local partnerships. We’re looking to build on our local news projects. Sports has been interesting for us. And also building the movies [offering].”

Jabbour added: “We are looking for new and captivating content that can amplify the horizons of our viewers. We want to take the TV experience to the next level—making it cozy and enjoyable and an escape that also expands their understanding of the world. We are exploring opportunities to introduce travel shows, documentaries and segments that transport our viewers to different cities, historic sites, scenic locations and hidden gems around the globe. We want to provide an immersive journey and an insider’s knowledge that inspires our consumers. We know the importance of enhancing our viewers’ lives, so we are also interested in bringing home improvement, from home renovation and interior designs to gardening and DIY tutorials, and real-life content that showcases individuals or families going through a unique experience, facing challenges or undergoing personal transformation. TV plays a significant role in the daily lives of families in Latin America. The more content we can offer that enhances family bonds and allows them to dream together, the better.”

Batty stressed that high-quality content is vital. “FAST has had a little bit of a bad rap from when it first launched: put any content out there on a FAST channel. [We are] bringing the best, strongest quality content we can to the consumers. It’s exciting. When you’re programming one channel, you’ve only got 24 hours. We have 100 channels. It gives you a deeper breadth of content.”

The session then moved to what makes for a good single-IP service, such as the one Samsung TV Plus has with Fremantle for Jamie Oliver content. “It is recognizable; [viewers] come in, turn it on and go, Oh, and then all of a sudden, two hours have passed,” Batty said. “We have some exciting single-IP channels coming up toward the end of Q3 in several countries.”

“It is more about the experience than just the brand,” Jabbour added. “We want to be a game-changer in the TV journey, offering exactly what they deserve and want. We go deep into all the data that only Samsung can provide. We have a rich collection of valuable information at our fingertips. The data allows us to understand exactly how our viewers engage with the content so we can track where they are in their viewing journey. We know how many hours they spend watching each piece of content. This level of insight helps us understand what content they want. We believe that we are going beyond the surface level. We create an experience that resonates with what every consumer wants.”

Batty picked up on Jabbour’s point about the importance of data analytics. “There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s really exciting to take the data and come up with these new brands that we’re looking for, the new genres we can bring to our audience.”

All sorts of licensing models are on the table for Samsung TV in Europe, Batty said. “What is the best partnership that we can utilize and drive to bring the best content to Samsung TV Plus? If it is something for one of our owned-and-operated channels, it might be a license fee. It might be a hybrid channel that we’re doing in partnership with a content provider that could be a minimum guarantee. It could be a rev-share deal.”

It’s similar in Latin America, Jabbour explained. “We need to sit down and negotiate what is best for all stakeholders in this ecosystem, whether it’s revenue share, inventory share, minimum guarantee, traditional license fees. We need to understand what matters to the whole ecosystem—content providers, advertisers and consumers. Especially in LatAm, where the service is pretty new, we promote a win-win relationship across the entire ecosystem. We want to make sure that everyone benefits from our partnership and collaboration. Most of the deals involve revenue share and inventory share. We have this flexible business model because we want to meet the needs and circumstances of everyone. We also have license fee models in place for our owned-and-operated channels. We don’t have minimum guarantees in Latin America, but we are exploring different approaches to support the industry. We started with hybrid models, where we subsidize the investment. This helps the new players enter the Latin American market and promotes growth, especially in the diversity of content we can offer. It’s to create this collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship. We understand that in sharing the happiness and the success of content providers, advertisers and consumers, we create an ecosystem that can prosper and enjoy the benefits of the FAST industry.”

Batty added: “We want to be the first place that content providers look to when talking about their FAST channels or AVOD propositions.”

Batty and Jabbour both weighed in on the role of exclusivity in FAST. “It’s really important that we are able to differentiate ourselves as a service and that we have content that the only place you can find it is Samsung TV Plus,” Batty said. “For us, exclusivity is exciting and important. But again, we want to make sure that our content partners are able to build their businesses, so we’re able to look at different lengths of exclusivity and certain content that isn’t exclusive.”

Jabbour added that the entire Samsung TV experience is exclusive. “The unique experience we offer is the real differentiator. We also have our owned-and-operated channels that are exclusive, selected and programmed by our team. This unique approach brings a new and distinctive perspective to our service. This is our way of ensuring that our customers receive an exclusive and unmatched entertainment experience that they will not find anywhere else.”