Emiliano Calemzuk is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of RAZE, a new media venture founded with superstar and entrepreneur Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer of Latin World Entertainment. The company caters to the fast-growing Latino Millennial through production and distribution of premium video content. RAZE is backed by Raine Ventures and Greycroft Partners, as well as United Talent Agency.
Prior to RAZE, Calemzuk served as President of Fox Television Studios, where he led a successful turnaround of the studios to reach revenues of $400M, and achieved the highest level of profitability since inception. Fox TV Studios developed and produced programming for major U.S. broadcast and cable networks, like “Burn Notice” and “White Collar” on USA Network; “The Killing” for AMC; “The Shield” and “The Americans” for FX.
Prior to joining Fox Television Studios, Calemzuk was President of FOX International Channels Europe, where he managed the operation of the 14- channel, market-leading, FOX Italian group. In addition, Calemzuk supervised the FOX operation in Spain, France, Germany, Turkey, and all of Eastern Europe, a business turnover in excess of $500M in revenue.
In this week’s “5Qs with…” Calemzuk discusses how RAZE evolved from a mobile-first video destination to cutting deals with Netflix, Amazon, and TNT.
In just one year, RAZE has evolved from a mobile-first video destination to cutting deals with Netflix, Amazon, and TNT. What was the strategy behind this success?
We worked hard at creating a company that could be a magnet for great narrative ideas from the get go. Some went to short form and others to longer form. Our model is mixed, where we own some of the ip but we also supply great ideas to high end distributors like netflix as well. As long as it is a great story, we will find a way to finance and bring to market. Hard work and a fair share of luck also played a role in this great first year i am sure!
What is the company’s short term and long term strategy for continuing this success?
Attract the best creative talent and give them the tools and leeway to succeed. In the long run, we aim to own a library of terrific franchises and intellectual property that are top-of-the-market in creative quality and execution. Focus on creating great stand-alone franchises is what keeps media companies safe from social media platform algorithm tantrums, digital ad sales swings, etc.
What was the toughest call you had to make as ceo in 2017 and what was the result?
Some tough calls on resource allocation given we are a vc-funded company. Everything looks like an opportunity but the resources have to focus on areas with biggest upside and in those places where we have a competitive advantage to build a successful business in the long run. The challenge I believe we succeeded in was creating a team of multi-versed executives that can wear different hats every day and an awesome raze culture.
What metrics do you find most important when tweaking content to attract a more engaged audience? Can you give an example of how you used this metric to guide the success of a show?
On our platform we focus on engagement mostly. We want to see our content engaging and also driving the conversation among the millennial audience. Reach is something very commoditized today, to the point where you wonder how much of it is real and how much fake. But engagement is real, creates loyalty, and builds brand equity for the long run. We beat most of our competitors in this key kpi.
What benefits does mobile content bring to the table that can’t be achieved with television or streaming services? How has your mobile content capitalized on this?
Live transmission. For 2018 we are planning several initiatives that take advantage of the “in the moment” opportunity that a mobile screen gives you.