The Electronic Retailing Association

Interview with Jérôme Dillard, CEO, Teleshopping, France

Jérôme Dillard, CEO, Teleshopping, France

Jérôme Dillard is an independant entrepreneur specialising in teleshopping, consumer products, distribution and client relations. He is the former head of M6’s Home Shopping Service as well as TF1’s Teleshopping (from 2010-16). Jérôme recently bought Teleshopping in April 2019 and is back in the driving seat leading its future development as CEO.

Before joining the DRTV world, Jérôme used to run various FMCG and specialty retail businesses on behalf of large international US and UK corporations. He then managed French DRTV businesses between 2000 and 2007 before helping to turn around one of the leading CRC (Customer Relations Centres) company in France, which he recently sold. Jerome managed Teleshopping, France, between 2010 and 2016.

Jérôme says: "One of my key beliefs in business is the team I assemble to help me manage businesses: making sure they are the right professionals in the right position at the right time is the first step. The second step is sharing our company goals with them and the final step is then making sure that their personal objectives are aligned with the company’s objectives. Once this is complete, I can almost say my work here is done, and can go fly my plane!"

ERA: Jérôme, thank you very much for taking time to do this interview. Earlier this year, you bought a leading home shopping company that belonged to a major television network. This is a major move and a big challenge in the French home shopping industry which saw the closure of QVC France in March 2019. How do you see the future development of Teleshopping as a private company?

JD: First and foremost, I do not believe the doomsday predictions where linear TV is done. At least not in the next 15 years. Of course, other forms of nonlinear TV and video entertainment are competitors.
The target of Home Shopping in France was always linked to the time slots we are awarded: women, 50 years old, … The profile of 50-year-old viewers today is radically different from the people turning 50 back in 1987, when the business was born.

And yet, home shopping adapted, changed and endured. I cannot see how anyone can predict the TV consumption behavior of current young millennials when they’ll be around 50, thirty years from now. Personally, I can’t, but I’m making the optimistic bet that their profile will be as different from our current target group as it is today, from that in the 90s. As long as we adapt, we’ll continue to prosper.
The closure of QVC in France is probably best explained by QVC, but in my mind, it has nothing to do with adverse market conditions or negative trends.

ERA: What do you see as the growth potential for Home Shopping in France overall and in particular how much potential do you see for the classic TV focused business model.

JD: In its current form and shape, the French market is underdeveloped at 200M€ turnover and stable. The potential, however, is similar to other European markets as long as the adequate conditions are assembled for successful live home shopping channels. In which case, the market potential will grow to a level similar to that of the UK.

ERA: Social media is the new playing field of most of the DRTV companies. What is your vision for Teleshopping in the digital arena?

JD: Live shopping shows are by themselves social media. But this is probably not what you mean. We’ve long gone past the 50% threshold of turnover being achieved on digital: social media will probably take this approach somewhat further, as long as we make sure we add new viewers, new consumers to our model. Otherwise, we’d just be piling media cost on top of existing media cost.

Let us not give up on TV. Just because traditional models are suffering, because media costs have to be realigned with the real sales potential of our media partners, just because the road ahead to adapt is difficult to map, does not mean we should abandon TV and see digital as the only way forward.

ERA: What do you think of the competition of the GAFA’s which have often been called disloyal?

JD: First, the acronym describes a group of very different companies, some of which are direct competitors, other are opportunities for us, and some are simply not on our radar. So it is difficult for me to paint them all with the same brush.

Anyway, can you name any human being embodying these formidable brands? For us, our hosts are the human embodiment of our shows and generate such goodwill and affection with our viewers that it sets us apart from the other retailers, in regard to GAFA competition.

ERA: French regulations have always been a serious barrier to the development of the home shopping business in France. Do you foresee any changes in this matter?

JD: There are no specific regulations in France that hinder home shopping development. However, one of the conditions I mentioned that need to be assembled to start a successful home shopping live channel is reasonable EPG position, as is determined by each private ISP or satellite operator. Such is not the case today with home shopping channels relegated to the very end of the EPG.

One way to overcome that difficulty is DTTV, but it requires a license to operate to be granted by public regulatory authorities. Will there be a home shopping DTTV channel in the near future? I can only hope so, but I’ve tried so many times in the last 19 years, that I’ll remain cautious with that prediction.

Teleshopping, the French DRTV business previously owned by the TF1 group, was bought by Jérôme Dillard in April 2019.

ERA: Please give a short description of Teleshopping including a short history of the company and a description of the product portfolio

JD: Teleshopping was founded in 1987 when the first and leading TV channel in France, TF1, was privatised. It was started as a 100% subsidiary of TF1 group, and was the first diversification attempt of their TV business. In the subsequent years, it added a paper catalogue, infomercials on other smaller TV channels, retail and stores to its business model. Its main specificity on the international home shopping scene remains to this day our TF1 daily morning show, produced in our own studios with our own hosts. The brand has become a daily fixture in France and the epitome of the genre, and our hosts enjoy huge awareness, loyalty and trust from our 250,000 viewers.

Our product portfolio covers all segments where home shopping thrives: fitness, cooking, DIY, home appliances, beauty products, and much more.

ERA: What can your customers look forward to in the remainder of 2019/in 2020?

JD: You’ll really have to tune in every morning to see that, but be sure there will be plenty of new products, new tips, and new ways to present our products and tell our stories to keep the show attractive.

ERA: Do you have a vision for the future of the global industry?

JD: Let us not give up on TV. Just because traditional models are suffering, because media costs have to be realigned with the real sales potential of our media partners, just because the road ahead to adapt is difficult to map, does not mean we should abandon TV and see digital as the only way forward. Otherwise, we’ll stop investing in the quality of our shows and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.