Novartis : Media-friendly financial results round-tables

Senior executives at the Swiss pharmaceutical giant discuss the company’s quarterly financial results in brief, informal videos aimed at journalists.

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The feature

Novartis provides a five-minute video in the media section of its corporate website, in which the CEO Vas Narasimhan discusses the firm’s Q3 financial results (published last month) with Marie-France Tschudin, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Bertrand Bodson, chief digital officer.

The trio cover a lot of ground in five minutes, with each telling the others about the financial performance (‘amazing momentum’), new drug launches, a big data initiative (‘We are definitely going big on data science and technology’) and details of employee training courses offered via Coursera and LinkedIn.

Helpfully, when one of the group mentions a drug, such as ‘Zogensma’, the name is added in a panel on the screen with details about the condition that it treats.

We found similar results videos on the company’s YouTube channel, going back to Q3 2018. All feature the CEO, with a varying line-up of other senior executives.

The takeaway

There are a number of reasons why journalists might find Novartis’s quarterly results videos useful.

The topics are wide-ranging but at a high level; valuable for getting a quick picture of the quarter in five minutes, which could also help in preparation for interviews or in deciding which points to investigate further. Over time, journalists will be introduced to different members of the leadership team – useful for those regularly covering the company.

From Novartis’s perspective, the videos provide a chance to put across its talking points in a less formal way than the conventional results event, to frame the potential news agenda.

The videos are getting solid viewing figures. The Q3 2019 video, published on October 21st, already had 4,000 views. Past videos we checked had 5,000 to 6,000 views.

We could not find any links to the video in the Investors section. Although they are intended for journalists, some financial professionals, such as analysts researching the company, might find the videos informative too – as might individual shareholders.
First published 13 November, 2019
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