17.05.2021, Luxembourg, RTL Group
Pernille Erenbjerg was appointed a new independent non-executive director of RTL Group’s Board of Directors on 28 April 2021. In an exclusive interview, she discusses future opportunities for RTL Group, topics she will bring to the Board, and what inspires her in her work life.
Congratulations on your appointment to RTL Group’s Board of Directors. You have a proven track record as a board member of companies across various industries. What do you find most interesting about joining the board of RTL Group?
Pernille Erenbjerg: I think the media industry in general is a very interesting space to operate in, we have such a profound impact on people’s lives – their thoughts, their dreams and their aspirations.
You have previously held several positions at Denmark’s biggest telecommunications company, TDC Group, including Group CEO and President. How will your extensive experience and knowledge of the telecoms business affect your work as an independent Board member at RTL Group?
Pernille: I had the privilege of running and developing a company in the tech/telco/cableco space during a time when traditional business models came under intense pressure from streaming services and the global tech giants. To stay relevant, we had to re-invent our business, particularly TV distribution. In order to do that, we needed to form new partnerships and embrace new technology, to provide the content our customers wanted, in the way they wanted to consume it.
What future opportunities and challenges do you see in the media, content, and digital sector, as well as for RTL Group in particular?
Pernille: We have seen a decade of the proliferation of streaming services, and to some extent these have co-existed with traditional distribution models. This has been a golden age for content and IP generation, we have never had more access to content. As the streaming markets mature, I think we will see customers focus more on the quality of content and ease of use. As customers, we do not want to navigate several streaming services with endless content offers, as well as traditional TV. We want individual solutions, with relevant and inspiring content, and some of us want more personalised ads.
One of the interesting trends we have seen during the pandemic is that online gaming has exploded and moved firmly – from being a phenomenon for teenage boys sitting in their parents’ basements, into the living rooms. This raises the question of how this may affect the usage and willingness to pay for TV and streaming over time, and whether new formats will be developed where we might see more crossovers between gaming and traditional entertainment, or perhaps into learning.
Are there any specific topics that you are looking forward to raising in the Board meetings?
Media has a huge impact on people’s lives – both for good and bad – and there is an opportunity for the industry to use this force for good. Clearly RTL Group has already embraced this, as expressed in our values, and I look forward to discussing how we can continue to challenge ourselves to do more to ensure that diversity and inclusion is promoted throughout the value chain, from creatives through production, marketing and distribution.
For me, the focus on the environment and the broader Environmental, Social and Governance agenda is very important, and something I bring to every company I work with – something that may have emerged from my Scandinavian upbringing.
What inspires you in your work life?
Pernille: I have always enjoyed working with talented and passionate people towards a goal. I thrive on challenges, and believe that unless you are willing to leave your comfort zone, you will not be able to learn and grow.
How do you unwind after a busy day at work?
Pernille: I go for a run. And if I am lucky, our children (who are in their early twenties), will come by for dinner – that is the perfect evening for me.
What has been the biggest lesson for you throughout your career?
Pernille: There have been so many, and thankfully I am still learning. Understanding the profound impact of clear communications is one. You cannot expect people to follow you if you are not able to explain what the journey is about – and you have to win people's hearts and minds to be able to move forward. Because my second lesson learned is: It is all about the people! Even with technology in focus, it is the people, passionate employees and leaders, that make the difference!