Cannes Lions: Vivendi Execs Talk Brexit, Paddington Franchise

Paddington the Bear Still - H 2014
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Paddington the Bear Still - H 2014

"It's in our interest to really keep the relationship as strong as possible," says Lucien Boyer, the CMO of Studiocanal's parent company, of the Brexit vote.

While the shocking Brexit vote was all the buzz as Cannes Lions week is winding down, Vivendi CMO Lucien Boyer said the company will keep its strong ties to Britain.

“It’s very, very early to say,” how Britain’s vote to leave the EU will affect the company’s structure, he told THR. “We never believed the U.K. was different from the rest of Europe so we never treated it differently. London will still be an important place for us, and we’ll still keep the ties very, very strong,” said Boyer, who is based in London but commutes to Paris weekly.

Seeming to calm some British nerves he added: “We have no reason to turn our back to London at all. It’s a creative community; it’s where the music is created. We may be the last bridge, but we will be the bridge for a long, long time. It is in our interest to really keep the relationship as strong as possible.”

Vivendi’s stock closed at €15.56, down 6.64 percent after news of the Brexit rocked European markets.

The company is in the midst of a turbulent creative change as chairman Vincent Bollore reshapes the former telecom company into a media giant. Bollore’s big tagline has been synergy as he tries to make Universal Music Group, Studiocanal and YouTube competitor DailyMotion work together, and Boyer’s presentation focused on how the company is building cooperation across entertainment spaces.

“Entertainment can really meet brands in the right space. Collaboration means a proper understanding and the fact that we can collaborate in the making of entertainment, which is really what we stand for,” he said. 

Vivendi hopes to make its properties seamless, integrating the different film, television, music, digital and live-event ticketing and venues. He cited Paddington, a legacy IP the company acquired earlier this week with the announcement of a third film in the works, as an example.

“The next release is going to be supported by an original soundtrack created by Universal Music Artists, the character is going to be part of a mobile video game now that we have acquired Gameloft, and we will have Paddington in live performance or musical, and we will use Bravado, being a strong marketing arm, to do a lot of things,” the exec said. 

The little bear will mean big bucks for the company, he added: “It’s like our Mickey Mouse.”