An interview with Mr Andreas Schaffner, Editor-in-Chief of CNNMoney Switzerland
CNNMoney Switzerland was set up as an independent Swiss media company. What is its relation to and role within the wider CNNMoney brand?
We are a great asset for CNN and we complement its global brand within the European region. We are proud to be the first TV channel to create a fully integrated digital and linear TV outlet using the CNNMoney brand. In a certain sense, we are pioneers. For us, it’s a privilege to use CNN Business content and to have access to CNN studios and correspondents around the world. If we have breaking news for our colleagues in London, New York, or Atlanta – like we did on the Swiss National Bank, Swissport, or the women’s strike –we are able to provide them with coverage and additional information.
What are some of the topics you were surprised to see interested your viewers?
We started with let’s call it a traditional approach toward business journalism.
Soon we realised that we could create communities around specific topics, such as innovation, entrepreneurship, blockchain, and also art business or sports business.
This was a very positive surprise for us and made us reshape the company. Of course, in times of Covid-19, we had to adapt slightly to cover the pandemic in Europe.
What inspired the Big Picture segment, where you deep dive into topics beyond the headlines?
We were never in the business of breaking-news only. Our approach was to have the big picture. We are strong with long-format interviews, and we will continue to work on this type of content. I think this is exactly where we can provide our viewers and communities with added value. I believe there is a need for conversations on this level. And by having these broader conversations with CEOs or experts, we still create headlines.
It's certainly true that CNNMoney Switzerland has interviewed some huge players in the worlds of finance and business.
Well, we have been very lucky so far. Being the new kids on the block helped us here for sure. The fact that Switzerland is the place to be for many international players – just think about the WEF Annual Meeting – helped even more.
You’ve been covering the Swiss economy for over twenty years now. Looking ahead with your insight, what do you see as the emerging trends that will shape the market?
Since I started, I think the economy, and for that matter, many businesses, have never really gotten out of crisis mode. There was the dotcom bubble bursting, followed by 9/11, and then later the big financial crisis that dominated the conversation. Digitisation, too, has led to a constant need to adapt business models.
A big topic that has changed companies was discussions the corporate governance discussions.
Now I really see companies adapting to a more sustainable way of production. Going green is not just an option anymore – even more so after the COVID-19 crisis.
By cancelling events like Baselworld and the Geneva Motor Show, the pandemic is proving difficult for all kinds of brands. What kind of impact do you think it will have on luxury brands in the long term? Have you seen any strategies for survival that impressed you?
I believe that luxury brands are here to stay. The rise of the middle class across the globe will continue and this will be the main driver moving forward. I don’t see it picking up after the crisis quickly but you already see signs coming from Asia, especially from mainland China.
Will Baselworld remain the same? Probably not. Will the Geneva Motor Show remain the same? Probably not. Events will need to be more agile, digital, and much more global than they used to be. Just waiting for the big luxury community to travel to Switzerland once a year is not a business case as such. Banks have shown that they learned this lesson the hard way.
Do you see the media landscape being changed in the long term as a result of this pandemic?
Yes, we have seen a dramatic shift already. Less spending on advertising is a fact that has impacted larger media companies across Europe, and this will have huge significance. At the same time, news consumption has reached new records and the need for trusted sources is higher than ever. And yes, linear TV has made a comeback. Like in all crises, there are many chances, too. Smaller, agile players like us at CNNMoney Switzerland can adapt their business models quicker.