In an ever-competitive business environment, Kanal D relies on innovation and trendsetting content, as it seeks to consolidate its already strong position in the local market. In an interview with Business Arena, Ugur Yesil, CEO and Executive Board Member Kanal D, speaks about expansion plans, opportunities and challenges.
How was 2018 in terms of business and how is this year shaping up?
2018 was definitely an excellent year for Kanal D, we had great results which came as a confirmation of our teamwork and our daily interest in providing people with a relevant, high-standard content. In 2018, Kanal D ranked second in the National and All Urban segments during Prime Time broadcast hours (20:00 -24:00). Kanal D had a huge 20 percent increase in market share on the commercial target (18-49 years) as compared to the previous year. This high level of viewership is a very good indicator of Kanal D’s popularity in the TV market, of its consolidated position as a top-three mainstream TV channel in Romania.
With regard to 2019, we have started the year in a strong way, we have consolidated the Day Time slot with fresh and highly successful programs such as “Puterea Dragostei” and “In cautarea adevarului”. The midday “Kanal D News” program and “Teo Show” have also enjoyed a very good audience. In Prime Time, we have launched new seasons of the highly successful “Exatlon” and “Bravo, ai stil!” shows.
Moreover, Dogan Media has expanded its business portfolio acquiring Radio Impuls, a strong radio network covering the main cities in Romania: Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, Sibiu, Constanta, Bacau, Craiova, Rasnov, Bistrita, Tulcea. This is a significant milestone in our business evolution, a challenge and an opportunity to consolidate our position and to become an even more powerful competitor in the media market. We are happy that we can now offer our viewers a complete top-level media package: television, digital, radio.
How is competition in Romania’s TV broadcasting market?
The broadcasting market in Romania has become increasingly tougher. The TV market is dominated by generalist TV channels, which heavily invest in content, therefore the battle at the top is very tight and we cannot speak about an exclusive leader anymore. Also, new niche TV channels are being launched periodically and they manage to gain and retain loyal audiences, even if they get a smaller share of the market.
What are your future development plans focusing on in this country?
The main priorities are to consolidate our media properties. We do our best to keep up with the latest trends of the industry, to adapt to the needs of the public, but also to innovate and maintain our trendsetting content approach, as we have done up to now with programs such as “Bravo, ai stil!” or “Exatlon”, shows that have changed not only TV consumption habits, but also people’s lifestyles. Exatlon has managed to convince the digital born generation to give up on computers and smartphones and to exercise outside their homes.
Now that we have added Radio Impuls to our portfolio, we are working hard to build a successful strategy for its performance, in order to reach the top five most listened radio stations in the future. The digitization of content is an ongoing trend and we are also permanently working on figuring out the best ways to reach the online generation and to offer them exclusive or relevant content, mainly focusing on video. Our online portfolio includes four websites targeting different public segments and interests (kanald.ro, wowbiz.ro, Kfetele.ro, stirilekanald.ro) and more social media pages where we have built powerful communities around our brands.
What new investments have been earmarked for 2019?
We are constantly investing in technology, infrastructure and, most importantly, in content. We are paying attention to the latest technology developments and trends as our aim is to offer people a 360-degree information and entertainment experience, to reach them 24 hours a day – seven days a week, on whatever device they might use. Moreover, we are also constantly evaluating other business opportunities, not only media related ones, and we are open to any business that can provide added value for Dogan Media in Romania.
What elements give Kanal D an edge against its competitors in this market?
Ever since entering the Romanian television industry, Kanal D has developed and consolidated powerful differentiators, we have always followed our content recipe and launched innovative formats that have become trendsetters in the market and have changed consumption habits. Kanal D has always positively surprised through its uniqueness, authenticity and valuable, relevant content.
I am proud that we have managed to implement our own approach from the beginning of our activity: Kanal D was the first commercial channel that acquired the rights and broadcasted football matches from the top national competition; Turkish series were launched in Romania when the South American soap series were very popular in the market. “Exatlon” was the first sport reality show broadcasted on the Romanian market and has become, shortly after its launch, not only a phenomenon and a trendsetting show, but also a revolutionary television format, revealing the high emotions of the competitors and promoting real human values such as friendship, fair play, and self-discovery.
Another show that has marked the media market in Romania is “Bravo, ai stil!”, a competition about style and attitude, that is not only entertaining, but also inspiring for the public. Both shows have created real online communities and brought to Kanal D a dynamic, very demanding public. These are some of the most valuable content projects representing milestones in Kanal D’s evolution and performance.
What are Kanal D’s most successful programs and what new shows are expected to be launched in 2019?
The public in Romania has become attached to strong brands such as “Asta-i Romania”, “Teo Show” or “Exatlon”, programs that meet Romanian people’s need for quality entertainment and relaxation. Also, viewers are very receptive to authentic reality shows such as “The Power of Love”, with young people developing true social media communities where they are intensely discussing about this show.
Of course, we are also preparing other wonderful surprises for our viewers, we are constantly looking to offer them quality programs that all family members can emotionally connect to.
We will continue to maintain our editorial political impartiality, but we will follow the big social stories and the public agenda, through
relevant news programs and reports broadcasted by Kanal D, not only in the News bulletins and but also in the show “Asta-i Romania”.
What is the total expected value of television advertising in Romania and what is your market share target this year?
After two years with a growth of around eight percent per year, in 2019 we expect a lower growth rate of around five percent. This growth slowdown is mainly influenced by the political and socio-economic environment that generates less and less support for an accurate prediction. This has a negative influence on consumption with direct impact in ad spending. Even in this harsh situation, we are confident that we can reach a higher market share. This increase expectation is based on content performance increases together with the increase of both sales volume and revenue streams.
What are your main professional objectives in 2019?
We have recently added a new operation to the Romania portfolio – a radio business line. Our aim is to integrate the new team in our
family, that aspect being already underway, and to translate our TV and online success to our radio operations. I am very confident that, together with my excellent team, this will happen much sooner than expected.
The interview is also available in our print edition of Business Arena.