CANNES – Fresh off the announcement of a strategic partnership with AwesomenessTV, unveiled Monday afternoon at Mipcom – which sees Endemol Beyond launching local-language AwesomenessTV channels in key markets such as U.K. France, Spain and Brazil – Sophie Turner Laing, Endemol Shine Group CEO, in her 33rd year at Cannes, used a Mipcom kdeynote to make a stalwart defense of the traditional attractions of TV and voice her confidence in its future.Appointed CEO of ESG last year, following the framework...
Sophie Turner Laing, chief executive officer of Endemol Shine Group, came on board the newly merged company in late 2014. Leading executives departed, prompting some commentators to ponder whether the creative walls would collapse, but Turner Laing kept her nerve and integrated the company briskly.
She has compared Endemol Shine to a “flotilla of different sized ships going in the same direction, but quite independent,” whose strength is in their diversity. In this scenario, she is like the admiral, with her eyes on the horizon, pushing the fleet into unchartered waters.
There are 120 locally driven production companies in this armada, with 630 productions airing in 65 territories across 258 channels. Their treasure trove includes reality formats like “Big Brother” (sold to 57 countries) and “MasterChef” (sold to 50 countries), and scripted shows like “Black Mirror,” “Peaky Blinders,” “Humans,” “The Bridge,” and “Broadchurch,” all of which have been sold to more than 100 countries.
She encourages her executives to see their shows as brands. “The power of brands has never been more important to help cut through the clutter,” she said. She seeks a 360-degree approach to exploitation, and has said that she’d like “non-TV” revenue to rise from 5% to 20% by 2020. In the online space, the company has a global audience in excess of 1 billion, and hit properties like “Legends of Gaming.”
She began her career at Henson Intl. Television where she worked on programs like “The Muppet Show,” and rose to become sales director. She went on to set up HIT Entertainment with Peter Orton in 1989, and later moved to Flextech as a buyer. She held a number of senior roles at the BBC, including acting director of television, and then joined U.K. pay-TV service Sky, where she held a series of senior posts, including director of movies, and managing director, content.