A couple of weeks ago, Cyber Group Studios promoted Raphaelle Mathieu, previously Executive Vice-President of the company, to Chief Operating Officer. Mathieu succeeded Dominique Bourse, who was named Chairman and CEO in February. To talk about her new position, the company’s approach to business and the task to find the right partners to work with, Señal News chatted with Raphaelle Mathieu.
▸ Cyber Group Studios is almost two decades old. What has changed during that time?
“We are going to be 18 years old this year. We are almost grown up! It is weird because it went by so fast. On the one hand, the company remained true to itself, but on the other hand, it has changed a lot. We started with titles such as ‘Zou’ and ‘Ozie Boo,’ and then it came ‘Gigantosaurus,’ which has been such a huge worldwide success. We all know how important it is to have properties that keep on living, and how hard it is to stay true to yourself but at the same time coming up with something new.”
▸ Which business models work best for the company?
“Regarding the process of coming up with something new, we have been trying to do that in-house, and that is why we created the office in the United States. Moreover, what it is really important for us is working on co-productions. Having worked a lot on co-productions, but in many different territories, enabled us to get closer and closer to a number of people, and also to an idea of what we felt was important for us. That is growing, but growing with assets, with partners that have been in the market for a long time and know their territories.”
▸ Does it take a lot of time to find those partners?
“Yes, but it is the way to grow organically, so it is really important. In Latin America, for example, which we feel is our next step, we are trying to expand but we need to find the right partner. We want to move fast, because in this business you need to move fast, as it changes so quickly. We do need to adapt every single moment, which is great but also challenging, because you have to be creative in every single aspect.”
▸ How related is the global scale of the content to the company’s worldwide expansion?
“Global content can come from any part of the world. Then, we work to make it as global as possible. Talents are everywhere, so it is more about working with them properly and making the content appealing for as many people as we can. Animation has a universal appeal in its DNA, an international language, and creators most of the time really want to talk to kids worldwide, not just in a couple of territories. Therefore, we bear some kind of responsibility with the content, because we are giving kids everywhere things that they will grow up with.”
▸ What are the main goals and challenges of your new position?
“First of all, I am really happy, proud and grateful to Dominique Bourse for giving me this opportunity. One of the main goals will be to really work together with the different entities even closer than we are doing right now. Also, to enable every single pillar of the company to express itself and have the tools to do its best. Another goal will be to really adjust to the market, which means not only a reaction, but an anticipation as well. There is no financial deal today that looks like the next one, so everyone needs to be creative. We believe in content first. We believe in storytelling. Once we have it, then we will decide if it is the right moment for it within our company, and for the market as well.”
By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo