In this episode, we sit down with Thomas Clavelloux, Chief Data Officer at Molotov TV, a groundbreaking French TV streaming platform.
Thomas shares captivating insights into how Molotov TV is redefining the way we consume television in the digital age. From seamless cross-device viewing to innovative features, Molotov TV brings the charm of traditional TV-watching to the modern world. Join us as we explore the fascinating journey of Molotov TV and its unique approach to the TV landscape.
Takeaways and the episode summary are available here: Unveiling the streaming revolution: a conversation with Thomas Clavelloux (Molotov)
Episode Topics at a Glance
Molotov's unique product model!
- Impact of content quality on revenue models.
- Utilizing add-ons like DVR hours and previews.
- How data helps enhance the product experience.
- Apple Vision Pro's potential impact on streaming.
- Content differentiation for subscriptions and ad support.
[00:00:43]: Overview of Molotov TV
[00:01:27]: Thomas' Experience in the TV Landscape
[00:04:21]: The Role of a Chief Data Officer
[00:06:07]: Creating a Data Culture in the Company
[00:08:28]: Platform Approach vs. Doing Everything for Teams
[00:10:11]: Challenges of Handling Multiple Platforms
[00:12:26]: Key Metrics for Subscription Management
[00:14:04]: Differences Between Molotov and Fubo around subscriptions
[00:16:45]: Content Quality and Subscription vs. Ad-Supported
[00:18:43]: Add-Ons to Enhance Subscription Value
[00:21:40]: Potential Impact of Apple Vision Pro
[00:24:55]: How to Connect with Thomas Clavelloux
[00:00:01.300] - Narrator
Welcome to the Subscription League, the Podcasts by Purchasely. Listen to what's working in subscription apps. In each episode, we invite leaders of the app industry who are mastering the subscription model for mobile apps. To learn more about subscriptions, head to subscriptionleague.com. Let's get started.
[00:00:20.770] - Olivier Destrebecq
Welcome to the show everybody. Today I'm thrilled to with be Thomas Clavelloux and Jeff. Welcome to the show guys.
[00:00:28.120] - Jeff Grang
[00:00:28.710] - Thomas Clavelloux
[00:00:29.350] - Olivier Destrebecq
Everybody knows Jeff but Thomas here the new guy on the podcast and you're Chief Data Officer at Molotov, which is a French TV streaming platform and a scale-up. I'm sure that has been tons of fun. Can you tell us more about it?
[00:00:43.210] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, it's been three years now that I'm on Molotov TV. It's a scale-up that's been created in 2016 and the main goal is to dramatically change the way people get accustomed to consuming TV, mostly in their sofa, on the sitting room. Basically, the idea is to provide a comprehensive experience on the TV landscape, whatever the device with a seamless continuity from mobiles to desktop to smart TVs to dongles that connect to your ancient TVs. Basically, the idea was to provide features that dramatically change the way people experience TV, scrolling in the content, enjoying highly quality features such as virtual recording, preventing you to connect any SSD to your TV decoder. This is the kind of experience that we can provide.
[00:01:27.640] - Olivier Destrebecq
Yeah, those are all the details that we don't think about when we're just watching TV on our end. Before that, you've worked in a few startup before and some large company. Always around data management experience. Any of those experiences that stick out that you want to tell us about?
[00:01:42.250] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, basically it's been 10 years that I've enjoyed several position on the TV landscape, and what is really interesting to look at is the way people tend to democratize, the way they interact with data management, and insights from the data-driven way of thinking. Lately, we have enjoyed a worldwide boost from AI, whether generative, whether development, whether assets, whether video or pictures. This is a really enjoyable landscape to serve the wing in. This is yeah, this is kind of an enjoyable position.
[00:02:16.780] - Thomas Clavelloux
The main challenge is to be able to, to remain on the page and to be able to follow the [inaudible 00:02:23] and to be able to… How to put this, to nurture talent, to be ensured that you maintain the pace. You do not get outdated from whether solutions, whether vendors, whether market trends, whether some insightful solutions has been created over the Atlantic or some successful vendors that's been created in Tel Aviv. We know ways how it says change the way people interact to the market. This is just the same for the TV landscape. You get some solutions that get created or again being purchased or they get vanished. This is interesting to follow that movement.
[00:02:55.030] - Olivier Destrebecq
Maybe the biggest job that you've had so far is actually you're a dad and you have two daughters. I'm sure it's been challenging. I'm wondering if you've been able to apply your data background to that job, too, or not?
[00:03:07.240] - Thomas Clavelloux
No, definitely. I try to prevent those from being insightful and okay, art-driven. Definitely this is not the way I thought about this. I just want to highlight the fact that we are living such a challenging professional experience and we are 24/7 a day highly connected to those landscapes.
[00:03:28.180] - Thomas Clavelloux
What is really interesting when you jump to personal position of a father is that you wipe out all the context, all the pressure, all the challenges that you get inherited from your office to your home. That is interesting. This is the only moment being a father when you are obliged to wipe out and to deal with the basic of raising children and ensuring you raise them right and you are able to transfer the what is good, what is wrong to build them their personalities. This is the most challenging way of nurturing talent and making them grow by themselves, I would say.
[00:04:01.180] - Jeff Grang
Getting two kids ready for school at 8 AM is quite a challenge too.
[00:04:04.930] - Thomas Clavelloux
[00:04:06.070] - Olivier Destrebecq
Do they get a promotion at some point or?
[00:04:08.680] - Thomas Clavelloux
I don't know. I'm thinking about this. Maybe a pay rise. I don't know.
[00:04:12.940] - Olivier Destrebecq
All right. You're Chief Data Officer at Molotov, I'm curious, what is your goal in that position? What's the goal of a Chief Data Officer?
[00:04:21.280] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, there are several of them. It depends on the market landscape you belong in. It depends on whether you are in a large companies or startup or scale-up. But I would say that overall there are two main goals. The first one is to be ensure that you support the business, you support the product, you provide insightful endpoints for recommendation, personalization, machine learning and all that stuff, and be a stakeholder partner for business decision. Ensure they have access to the right tooling, the right moment. They can leverage their talents of their own team to be autonomous and reduce the bottlenecks from data dependency.
[00:04:57.820] - Thomas Clavelloux
I would say there are two main targets. The first one is ensure we have the right people to support the business and to make it grow. The second one is more about the tooling and the platform being sure that we can provide the data platform. That is to say, the overall data stack that is able to support those use cases and to be able to take best of resolutions, ensure to maintain a cost line that is relevant to your PnL.
[00:05:22.680] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is mainly a product way of thinking where you manipulate data, you transform it, you make it ready, you make it accessible with APIs. Basically, this is all of a product data perspective where you get accustomed to building endpoints and platform where people can join in, can interact, can leverage their insights from, and then continue to do their business on a day-to-day basis.
[00:05:46.140] - Olivier Destrebecq
It's very interesting to me because it really sounds like you're providing platforms that then people can get the data they need for their feature and all that good stuff. I'm sure that requires to create a data culture in the company so that people know how to use the tools that you create. But also even think about, "Oh yeah, I need to get some data about something." How do you go about that as the Chief Data Officer?
[00:06:07.320] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, this is a challenging question. I would say that it is mainly a state-of-mind perspective. I would say that one of my main challenge when I joined Molotov TV three years ago is that I was under the impression that people were expecting the data collaboration as a tech collaboration. That is to say, you order, you send a brief, and two weeks after you get your answer and you continue on the day to day basis. This internal client state of mind is something that I definitely struggle too because I'm thinking that it challenges the way the teams work together. It is not the right state of mind to think about.
[00:06:42.750] - Thomas Clavelloux
I definitely work hard with the teams to ensure that they can access at least on 70% on the day to day basis. They can have access to platform where the answers are on the shelf or where the access is ready. This is one of the struggle. I'm really convincing when you switch the state of mind of a company and you turbocharge the way they access to data and they collaborate with the data teams, is that this is strongly relevant to ensure that people get autonomous. They have the right tooling to access to, you minimize the code dependency, you minimise the SQL, the Python stuff because there's no stakeholder, you are not accustomed to being expert in tech language and this is absolutely not the target they aim at.
[00:07:24.870] - Thomas Clavelloux
I'm thinking that the best step is, I would say, democratize the way people can access to it, make it relevant and business focused. Once that is set, you can go to more advanced use cases. Let's just say machine learning and points scoring, personalization, which is more tech-oriented, but which is the first step is definitely business impact. Once that is set, you can to recharge your mostly related, backend-driven endpoints where you can personalize the online experience and make the products change because of the data you've infused in it.
[00:07:58.380] - Olivier Destrebecq
One actually follow-up question. I don't know. 10 years ago, I was working at a company and trying to set up an analytics platform over there, and one of the questions that we ask ourselves was whether we are going to do everything for the teams that need the data or whether we are taking the same approach that you are like setting a platform and then they would be responsible for taking ownership of the data. You took the approach of the platform and then wonder if that allows you to get better buy-in from the teams into the data culture and all that stuff.
[00:08:28.170] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, I would say that to 10 years ago, the term modern data stack was at a major point and definitely the way the data and the tech solutions enabling those data use cases are enabling the data development has definitely changed around for the past decade, and this definitely helped the data democratization because we have the skills, obviously. The first step analysts or engineering were definitely looked at some kind of curious dinosaur in the company or curious bird you don't know how to interact with.
[00:09:02.220] - Thomas Clavelloux
Where it is nowadays because of the tooling, because of the development of skills, people get accustomed to working with those kind of people. This is combined with the set of solutions that is on the market, really ergonomic, really development thinking oriented with the data teams that use them on a day-to-day basis. Definitely change the way we produced insights. Definitely make it faster, make it accurate. That changed the way we build the data. At last I would say that because of APIs, because of the way we develop a product nowadays, you write easy entry point to reach to for enabling basic use cases that definitely dramatically change the way people and the end user interact with your product.
[00:09:48.870] - Thomas Clavelloux
I would say that it reduced the entry barrier and nowadays you can deliver some highly impactful use cases with minimal efforts, which is the first step you aim to democratize it, to make it a success and say, "Okay, let's put the needle further in and see how far we can go."
[00:10:04.800] - Jeff Grang
One thing that is really particular to [inaudible 00:10:07] that you are present on a lot of platforms. How many platforms by the way?
[00:10:11.130] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, this is mainly for device families and we've got six payment platforms to work with.
[00:10:17.070] - Jeff Grang
I guess that big challenge to be able to handle all these can well maybe share a little bit of these struggles and pains.
[00:10:24.990] - Thomas Clavelloux
Absolutely. There are two sets of them. On the development standpoint, because of the different device we deliver the product to, and because of the payment platform we interact with. This is a nightmare because you have to be aware of the threat which is reproducing one development sets to each and every platform, each and every payment provider, and that is a threat because we are on a state of mind nowadays where you cannot leverage and rise from rates from 100 million to 100 million because of the cost of capital.
[00:10:57.300] - Thomas Clavelloux
Nowadays, you are more inclined to think of a more centralized way of thinking where you make it a backend-driven so that you develop the feature or you develop the core assets of the feature once for all, and then you only leave to the front ends, leave to the different payment providers, the, let's say the last mile of the added value. On the payment platform times, this is yeah, this is a challenge on development standpoint because of the feature delivery, because of the specificity of the way you develop on the front end.
[00:11:28.620] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is as well a challenge on the business standpoint because payment providers behaves differently, have a way to shape their data differently, provides insights about the subscription management differently. On a data standpoint, one of my job with the backend developer in charge of payment is ensure you provide a unified way of thinking of subscription all around the company, taking into account that you need to provide a layer of extractions that is able to be clever enough to take the different payment providers specificity, yet be able to provide a single way of thinking, a single language of monitoring the different subscription management, whether on the product sides or on the reporting side, to ensure you provide accurate figures for financial stuff and that kind of reporting.
[00:12:17.100] - Jeff Grang
Deep diving into subscriptions and data, what are the metrics that you monitor or that the team that use your platform actually monitor? Can you share a bit?
[00:12:26.820] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, absolutely. There is several of them. But the first one, which is, let's say rulings, the other is obviously the count of subscription and the average revenue per subscription or average revenue per user, depending on how you approach that and all that, let's say all the other major indicators derives from that bundle, the subscription [inaudible 00:12:48].
[00:12:49.050] - Thomas Clavelloux
Mainly you ensure after that you maintain a cost of sales which is reduced, you maintain a cost of acquisition which is reduced and you balance with your lifetime value. Basically, afterwards, this is all about subscription, management, and growth. That is to say, gross churn, net churn, reactivations, lifetime value, lifetime duration. For most major people, the lifetime value in and lifetime value out, basically this is a specificity of the way you hire new subscription where you have a forecast of lifetime duration and maybe because of how you are going to make the product evolve, you are about to have a lifetime value out, which is really higher because you have reduced churn.
[00:13:30.810] - Thomas Clavelloux
In the meantime, you have increased the average revenue per user and they get a feature that help us improve the overall product experience and revenue management, which is the way to increase the value proposition of the product and to increase the value of the company at the end of the day.
[00:13:45.030] - Olivier Destrebecq
Fubo has acquired Molotov TV and [inaudible 00:13:47] don't do in-app purchase. I guess it's all on the web. What is…
[00:13:52.290] - Thomas Clavelloux
Except for Roku, absolutely.
[00:13:53.610] - Olivier Destrebecq
Except for Roku. Okay. What is the difference between Molotov, which does in-app subscription and Fubo that you know makes it work? Maybe is there some consolidation coming down the pipe or?
[00:14:04.800] - Thomas Clavelloux
Absolutely there is. There is nowadays. Those very weeks about to launch a new experience, a new way of thinking, subscription management, both overall in the Atlantic and at the end of the day for the French markets. Definitely to your point, there is a continuous process of learning and sharing between the American markets and the French and the EMEA one.
[00:14:26.100] - Thomas Clavelloux
To your point, it's all a matter about how you address the business and in which market you are playing. Let's say in the US where you want to control the subscription because it's a high-pressure market where you want to control the most your subscription revenue to reduce the most of your fees dedicated to the payment providers. This is a market where you are [inaudible 00:14:47] really hard and you want to ensure that each and every dollar that you collect at the end of the day, as you reduce the cost associated with it to leverage your margin. This is a market where you want to ensure you control that growth and you are able to deliver the tactics of intention and retention that are the most accurate to that high-pressure business.
[00:15:12.480] - Thomas Clavelloux
On the French market, likewise, we are interested in make it grow, yet we have that tremendous opportunity because of the mobile way we grow to have a deep integration with the manufacturer. That is to say, the Apple Pay and Google Pay, Amazon Pay, for instance. Where you, let's say, make a seamless experience of subscription take. That is to say when you, for instance on the mobile device, this is just a [inaudible 00:15:39] way to provide your agreement with be able to pay with Apple Pay.
[00:15:43.620] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is the seamless experience where you want to look at when you intend to grow because it reduce the frictions in being able to subscribe. Then yet, okay, you agree to have a fee related to the manufacturers that distributes the payment provider, but yet this is a highly interesting insights that you get from that payment provider. You can benchmark those different payment providers and see if they provide the best survival rates and they provide the best experience and retention. As way you delegate the [inaudible 00:16:16] renewal or what's related to fraud prevention or veracity to payment recovery if there is some payment incident.
[00:16:22.440] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is a different way to think about this and both has advantages and drawbacks. But at the end of the day, this is a matter of how you intend to grow and in which market you are playing.
[00:16:32.040] - Olivier Destrebecq
Cool. You know, you obviously you guys are streaming lots of videos and I've always wondered, is there a difference in content that makes a video worthy of a subscription or that needs to be supported by ads, essentially?
[00:16:45.180] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, that's a good point. It's all a matter about content quality, exclusiveness, and Frenchness. You know that to your point, content is something that gets created, gets exclusive, gets right in a moment because this is a sports show that you intend to live stream the last seasons. Once this is played matches over and I would say that the content quality is highly reduced because of that momentum and fear of missing out effects. Whereas on the series, on the movies, you have a more lifetime duration because a high-quality movie can be streamed for years and maybe decades without deprecating the quality of that content.
[00:17:29.610] - Thomas Clavelloux
To your point, what is subscription-driven might be high-quality content we all have in the mind, the Disney Plus, highly qualified catalog, the Netflix one, yet going into the ad market. It's all a matter about, is your content exclusive? Is the quality remnant with the time, or is it highly snacking content that's get depreciated because this is news and the main thing you are aiming at is the latest news and news from the past week are not really interesting except for niche topics, I would say so.
[00:18:04.470] - Thomas Clavelloux
It all depends on the type of content and the category of content. As well, this is a question about how you intend to leverage that distribution fees and the deal you have contracted as a distributor. Molotov TV and Fubo TV are highly interesting to looking at the balance between, "Okay, I've paid for that content, how much revenue did I get from that?" And once that revenue is kind of expired on the subscription basis, maybe there is a way to attract with a value proposition of a free content and leveraged ad revenue from that if you have a powerful ad market and you have if you have CPM that are high enough to make it leverage from from from that content.
[00:18:42.480] - Olivier Destrebecq
[00:18:43.230] - Jeff Grang
If you're not involved in that world, one can be easily thinking that everybody, everything is related to the content and all the value of your subscription is related to the content. But I'm sure there are good add-ons to subscription to make upsells beyond content and to make subscriptions appealing.
[00:18:59.040] - Thomas Clavelloux
Absolutely. This is where the product experience itself step in. If you reduce the content quality and the subscription management, you may have an empty nutshell. You may have a shitty experience. Apologies for my French. A dramatic experience on the whether, the device, if you are only interested in having access to the player and to the content being streamed yet, yes you can.
[00:19:23.040] - Thomas Clavelloux
Let's say step aside the product experience and only rules by the content quality you have. Yet to your point, what make a thinking that there is a path both for Fubo and Molotov to grow is that people come for content, obviously, but then you have a product experience which is so high that you can both sell add-ons because there is some toppings that definitely changes the way people interact with the product in Fubo and Molotov and not in other platforms because of highly quality and features. Something really advanced on the way people consume their contents and some way to record on the one-click button and then have access to the best moment of your shows.
[00:20:04.250] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is the kind of of features that dramatically change people interact with your products, make them stay because they have exclusiveness both in the content, of course, but of course in the feature and the way they interact with the product. To your point, the best add-ons that we can think about is the extra hours of DVR to increase your recordings and increase the amount of movies, series that you can record and have in your buckets.
[00:20:31.340] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is about multi-screens. If you are on the market where they have, for instance, in the American market, they have TVs in each and every room, You may be interested in having concurrent place, concurrent product experience in a same profile, in the same account. This is the kind of feature that you can pay for. Yeah, we can think about exclusivity, we can think about preview. When you get a series that is released each and every week, you may say that, okay, 24 hours before it is live, online, on the major streaming services, you can have access to exclusiveness.
[00:21:05.870] - Thomas Clavelloux
This is the kind of value proposition that definitely attract people, make them stay on their product and increase the output. If you are clever enough to change the way they interact with the product and see there is a path to take those add-ons.
[00:21:18.890] - Jeff Grang
There is one burning topic in everybody's mouth and heads right now about Apple Vision Pro announcements and for sure we could tend to think that it is going to replace every screen we have around, etcetera. We'll see how it goes about that. But what are your plans are at Fubo about this brand-new device or category or life-changing product maybe?
[00:21:40.160] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, absolutely. To your point, this is an easy today to set that product experience and that device among the other. It enhance experience while obviously personal but yet because of the through of the Vision Pro you can still see your TV and still interact with the last device that you interact with and you are accustomed to streaming the TV with. To your point, we have different ideas. It's been several years when we jumped in the VR experience and do make an integration of Molotov TV definitely in VR. There was a definitely proof of concept that make a thing that there is a market in this.
[00:22:20.750] - Thomas Clavelloux
But yes, the main thing that makes people consume the TV and makes them attract a specific event is the group effect. I would say when you are a group of friends, a family event, you are interested into looking at the player and looking at the products, because this is a way to make people converge on a same consumable moment where you have access and you stream and you interact with the TV and you claim for a soccer goal and you have that that group effect that leverage the emotion and make it grow. Despite that, on the Vision Pro this is a single experience.
[00:22:58.700] - Thomas Clavelloux
I would say that we are thinking of it about obviously adding as a new device to stream TV with but as well make it an extension of the TV device that you interact with. Maybe it could be a second screen where you have access to highly quality content about the soccer game you are looking at. Maybe it could be a way to interact with and make it dedicated to several metrics you are interested in with a specific soccer player, a specific context about this TV shows.
[00:23:30.950] - Thomas Clavelloux
If the Vision Pro deeply interact with your Apple TV, for instance, it could be a way to interact with the product without touching the remote. It could be a way to change the channels. It could be a way to ask for content rather than whether clicking arrows to access that content. Definitely, things are open. We are looking at really closely. There is a way to test it, but yet with a 3500 buckets a device, this is a niche target and we aim to be mass market to make it grow.
[00:24:05.120] - Jeff Grang
Great. No additional advertising on the side, right?
[00:24:08.690] - Thomas Clavelloux
It could be an option in that with the highly premium experience of a Vision Pro, this is challengeable to make ad displays on that device. This is a whole of the balance that Olivier mentioned previously, which is okay, is it a premium feature premium content where you just want the best experience in the best product ever? Or is it some middle-quality or low-quality or long-tail content where it's been streamed in tons of devices, in tons of years previously, and you're more interested in to leverage that long-term content and make ad out of it.
[00:24:45.830] - Olivier Destrebecq
If people want to hear more about your thoughts on the Vision Pro but probably more on data in the company, is the Chief Data Officer, where can they go to hear more about you?
[00:24:55.850] - Thomas Clavelloux
Yeah, obviously there are different way to connect to that. There is obviously the email, but the best route is LinkedIn, obviously. Weather direct, weather or mobile phone, they already have access to it. Yeah, there are different routes. I'm happy to because we are all around the table passionate about this stuff. We are leaving it with, so definitely they can reach out and grab a cup of coffee and I'll be delighted to, to go into a deeper conversation about those topics.
[00:25:25.160] - Olivier Destrebecq
Awesome. Well, thank you very much for sharing all your experience as the Chief Data Officer with us. It was really awesome to have you on.
[00:25:30.890] - Thomas Clavelloux
Thanks a lot, guys. Happy to connect.
[00:25:33.290] - Narrator
On behalf of the Purchasly team, thank you for listening to the Subscription League podcast. If you've enjoyed what you heard, leave us a five-star review on iTunes or other audio platform. To find out more about Purchasely and how we can improve your subscription business, visit purchasely.com. Please hit subscribe in your podcast player and don't miss any future episodes. You can also listen to previous episodes at subscriptionleague.com. See you soon.