Gene Simmons tells TV industry to learn from music business

Rock and TV star Gene Simmons told the TV industry that branding is everything and it needs to better embrace that. In a conference session at the MIPCOM TV market in Cannes hosted by Infoma Telecoms & Media’s Peter White, Simmons said the TV business needed ‘a kick in the pants’ and ‘needs to get sleeker and hipper.’ Informa is the publisher of Music & Copyright.

Simmons was in town to celebrate his A&E reality series Gene Simmons Family Jewels hitting the 100 episode mark and in a keynote address, he spoke to delegates about how he had built the brand of his rock ban KISS and built the TV show from a special to a long-running series.

“It’s your professional duty to make sure your brand spreads,” he told delegates. “I would rather be Disney than Sony, Lionsgate or Paramount – brands mean everything.”

A&E Network and BIO president and GM Bob DeBitetto explained how the Gene Simmons show had been used to build the A&E brand as it repositioned itself from ‘PBS with commercials’ to a more mainstream entertainment offering.

“We always look for shows that can help us differentiate ourselves,” he said. “When I saw the special with Gene it struck me how different it was – there was something unexpected about a rock star who is also a phenomenal family guy. At that time we were trying to reinvent A&E with programmes that surprised people. [KISS and Gene Simmons] were a bigger brand than we were and I thought why not try and get next to that.”

Simmons went on to say that KISS was the pioneering brand in exploiting the brand across all available platforms and that rights owners should heed the lessons of the music business and protect their intellectual property at every turn.

“Be litigious,” he advised delegates. “Sue everybody, take their houses, their cars. The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn’t have the balls to sue every freckle-faced kid who downloaded tracks.”

If you want to hear what Simmons said then watch the interview in full.

Music & Copyright is a fortnightly research service published by Informa Telecoms & Media.

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