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Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti has said that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has served to accelerate the shift of television production from linear to non-linear services.

Speaking at the virtual Paley International Council Summit on Tuesday, Bassetti said, “COVID gave a kind of acceleration of what is already a trend in our industry, where there is a clear shift between linear to nonlinear.”

Bassetti said the pandemic anticipated what was going to happen in a couple of years anyway. “We were pretty lucky because we finalized our finances a few weeks before COVID became an issue,” said Bassetti. “And so today, our financing, is in very good condition. [And it’s helped] by the fact that we have such strong IP. That really is what you need.”

Bassetti was in conversation with Cris Abrego, chair of Endemol Shine Americas and CEO of Endemol Shine North America.
Banijay took over the Endemol Shine Group in a $2.2 billion deal over the summer, making it the largest non-U.S. independent production player. The group’s combined IP includes the likes of “Survivor,” “Black Mirror,” “Versailles” and “Mr. Bean.”

The Paley appearance marked one of the executive’s first public engagements following the closure of the deal.

Reflecting on the acquisition, Bassetti said, “For us, our business is a business of formats, IP and talent. Cannot be one without the other.”

“We believe that to have a very large platform where we can share IP and give a service to this creative person in order to let them focus on their own skills to create new IP…was the right move to do this acquisition,” Bassetti added.

The combined company is now spread over 22 territories around the world. Abrego spoke about the advantage of having what he described as a “global brain trust.”

“There are universal format points — tentpoles, if you will — that will help formats travel,” said Abrego.

Organized by the Paley Center for Media, the Summit brings together global leaders and CEOs of the world’s top media companies to advance the exchange of ideas. The event is now in its 25th year.