With more than twenty years in the industry, he came to WarnerMedia as part of the merger of companies after AT&T had acquired what was Time Warner at the time, more specifically Turner Latin America, a company he joined in 2007. In this Interview with Amanda Ospina, director of TVMAS, elaborates on his functions and on the burning issue of piracy.
“It is a company that makes the fan the center of its strategy, so having the consumer as its main focus makes the challenges even greater”
The great mileage of Víctor Roldán’s journey through the industry has long-standing figures. Before joining WarnerMedia, he oversaw the legal area for Turner International Latin America for almost ten years, a company in which, as the saying goes, “he put all the meat on the grill” with the enormous experience he had gained in important companies such as Claxson Interactive Group, Inc., where he was director of legal affairs. He was director of legal affairs for El Sitio, Inc., and worked in top-tier law firms, as well as in the Federal Court of Appeals.
What are your roles and what are the most recent major deals and acquisitions you have been a part of for the amplification of the channel portfolio and the expansion of WarnerMedia?
Currently I have under my responsibilities the legal management of everything that is related to the business starting with the distribution of signals, of the commercial agreements by which the HBO MAX platform is integrated, of the individual contents produced and syndicated by the Warner Brothers studio within Latin America, following the issues of advertising and reaching the acquisition of sports content licensing rights. In other words, a combination of entertainment that brings together its own productions, those of third parties, the broadcast of complete leagues, primarily soccer in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, both at basic levels and premium signals, as well as movies under the HBO brand as those of TNT Sports.
From your legal and business area, what are the main challenges in terms of distribution, the making of original productions; marketing and communication initiatives; the commercial management of licenses and advertising sales?
Daily challenges are presented to us from all the stages that you mention. It is precisely what makes the industry unique, more than anything in a company that makes the fan the center of its strategy. You can see this both in each of the things we do from producing as well as acquiring to reach the other extreme that is distribution and marketing initiatives. The company focuses on its fans and being a consumer-focused company makes these challenges even greater.
Piracy is one of the main challenges and last August you were appointed Chairman of the Executive Board of The Alliance Against Pay TV Piracy. What is the current reality of piracy by some cable operators and streaming platforms?
This is an issue that WarnerMedia is very concerned about. There is a content protection team in Los Angeles, California that is very actively dealing with just this. But the responsibility to provide a good experience to those who want to access our products is so great that the company has decided to participate in the “Alliance”, an entity from which I have been chosen by its members, which constitutes an additional effort by the companies, that have multiple objectives, always focused on the fight against illegally appropriated content.
What are the main activities?
Starting with education through campaigns like the one we did a short time ago in Uruguay, continuing with relations with regulators explaining the enormous damage that this problem causes not only to companies but also to the entire industry, from the impact on work, such as tax evasion and what this implies for the affected territories, until eventually reaching joint or separate legal actions.
Let’s talk about the numbers of losses in dollars due to piracy and how much do they amount to for companies and governments, especially for Latin America?
At Alianza and the companies that make it up, we are not talking about losses, although we are aware of them, but rather we point out that, if we want companies to produce more, the first incentive for this to happen is for the States to ensure us the tools by which we can protect the product of the investment made, that they grant us the legal tools and administrative circuits that are necessary to achieve the blocking of these activities and illegal distribution.
And between pay TV and streaming, what numbers do you have?
Streaming is measured against Internet users, while pay TV piracy is measured against users. Studies by the Online Piracy Alliance, of which streaming is a part, show that more than 50% of Internet users search for and access online content illegally. As for pay TV piracy, the percentage amounts to approximately 25-28%.
The person in charge of all legal matters related to the distribution of the company’s channel portfolio in the WarnerMedia region and president of “Alianza” provided to TVMAS with an extensive report that contains data that is not only very interesting, but also truly alarming. We are reproducing as a complement to this interview a summary of said document. In this role, he leads the efforts of the entity made up of pay TV operators such as DIRECTV Latin America and SKY Brazil, programmers such as CDF, Disney, Globosat, Discovery, Tele Cine, Win Sports, LaLiga, WarnerMedia Latin America, Ole Distribution and providers of technology and industry associations such as NAGRA and ABTA.
Víctor Roldán is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrano; has a postgraduate degree in Telecommunications Law, Procedural Law and an LLM in Business Law from Universidad Argentina de la Empresa; has an MBA from Torcuato Di Tella University and a business degree from Yale University.