If THEMA had to name its theme song, it would surely be sung to the tune of diversity! It enjoys a global presence, has a huge portfolio of channels and programs, offers multiple bundles aimed at some of the world’s main diasporas, and participates regularly in international markets and events. We talked to Marianne Bede, SVP Marketing-CEO, about the company’s evolution and current interests.
Created in 2005 by François Thiellet with the aim of distributing themed television channels on pay TV platforms, THEMA has been a Canal+ subsidiary since 2014. It now unites more than 180 themed and multicultural TV channels along with content catalogs, notably in 4K. Based in Paris, THEMA has five subsidiaries across the globe (Amsterdam, Montreal, Miami, Moscow and Singapore) and a network of 10 agents in Europe. THEMA’s activities focus on the distribution and creation of channels and content. Its portfolio includes five main categories: multicultural, music, lifestyle (including cinema, series, well-being and the arts), news and sport.
THEMA works as an aggregator of tailor-made TV bundles aimed at the main diasporas, and it is the number one provider of foreign channels for French operators. It also has subscription video on demand (SVOD) and APP offers.
Mezzo, France 24, Muséum, Stingray and Insight are among its biggest customers.
Nollywood TV, Novelas TV, Kanal Drama and Planète+ Canada are some of the most successful channels it has created. THEMA takes part in numerous events and international markets, such as MIPCOM, CSTB, NEM and ATF.
TV France : THEMA has a large portfolio in terms of channels and programs – how would you describe it?
Marianne Bede : THEMA’s portfolio can be divided into two major groups: channels and TV packages that we create, and the channels and content from third parties that we distribute.
TV France : Please present THEMA’s various activities in terms of distribuition and aggregation.
Marianne Bede : We create channels (Nollywood TV / Novelas TV for France and Africa, but also Kanal D Drama (Turkish series) in the USA and Planète+ Canada in Quebec); distribute third-party channels (Mezzo, Muséum, France 24, Studiocanal TV, Love Nature, etc.); and build “ethinic” offers like the Bouquet Africain (African Bundle), which offers 25 linear channels, includes a VOD service and is sold by all operators in France. We also bundle channels and content to build packages like the Bouquet Maghreb (North African Bundle), Bouquet Turque (Turkish Bundle), Bouquet Espagnol (Spanish Bundle), and the Bouquet Russe (Russian Bundle). www.thematv.com
TV France : What other support activities and services does THEMA offer?
Marianne Bede : We sometimes work with cable, satellite and mobile operators to build the best offer for their subscribers. We can contribute as consultants with studies, create channel and content line-ups, and provide technical support for signal delivery.
TV France : THEMA has built a global presence. Where exactly are you present, and how do your relationships with your overseas counterparts work?
Marianne Bede : We have a network of five subsidiaries: THEMA Canada, THEMA America, THEMA Northern Europe, THEMA Russia, and THEMA Asia-Pacific, with THEMA collaborators that have their own portfolios of channels and content. We are present on almost every continent. Africa is managed via Paris, but with an indirect presence through our colleagues at Canal+ International. There is one slightly special situation: for Eastern European and Baltic countries, we have non-exclusive relationships with local agents.
TV France : What does THEMA do in terms of international markets and events?
Marianne Bede : Our clients are channels and operators, and for them markets are an opportunity to renew distribution contracts and present new creations during mini-events and cocktail parties held on our stand. It is, of course, also the time for us to buy programs for our channels and SVOD offers and to get a feel for how content is evolving at an international level.