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Read this: Media Masters - Darren Childs

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Media Masters - Darren Childs…



Media Masters with Paul Blanchard

welcome to media Masters a series of one-to-one interviews with people at the top of the media game global managing director of the BBC worldwide and European senior vice president for Sony Pictures I also spent 8 years in Asia working for star TV since getting the top job at UK TV in 2010 Darren tasted the broadcaster to record profits of 92 million on revenues of 355 million known for its range of channels including Dave gold and Drama the broadcaster has recently announced plans to extend its video-on-demand service by investing in machine learning Darren thank you for joining me pleasure to have you done the huge success of UKTV 10% of TV market share is probably the most underreported story in British Media is being picked up cuddle up recently wizard.

I think the news is starting to spread what I don't want thing I've realised it is customers get what's going on before the industry does sometime so you know we see it every.

With increased viewership and with increased levels of Engagement with our audiences, so we've been kind of on this journey for the best part of 8 years.

Just seeing it grow quarter by quarter by quarter by quarter a farm anything.

What's happening right now is the kind of industry is starting to come a recognised what we done and that you don't have a big part of what UKTV really being about is being underestimated by some of the Titans in this industry and we've been quietly working away working hard building an amazing team of people and executives working on great content rebuilding the entire business from from the bottom up in order to actually be competitive and a time where we are in Peak District chin TVs in peat destruction right now is fine happy to record in Street in 15 years ago is happening to the retail sector right now and I will take TV is absolutely impede disruption right now my job has two.

UKTV to make sure that UKTV navigates that turbulent period and keeps going and keeps crying and continues to be successful, and I do that with a very talented group of people that work in well.

It's been disrupted by you you guys into me to be the primary disruptors, um yeah, we don't say so much as I will see you in as we see it is really getting ahead of what customers want so even if you look at that if you look at the original term broadcast it was almost dinner with bunch of people in suits telling everybody what they were supposed to watch when they were supposed to watch it and they really wasn't a huge amount of real customer insight being fed into the business and and again from day one.

That's one thing we wanted to we wanted to change is something I learnt from trying to enter new markets in my previous jobs in a when I first went to first landed in India in 1990.

1991 there was no research consultants and I often tell the story here about how we live we did in fact back.

Then when Mumbai was called Bombay before they even change the name of the city with anyway.

We could find out what people wanted to watch or what they were watching was knocking on people's doors and that's what we did with stay at the Taj Mahal hotel and down on marine driving in there in Bombay with leave in the morning and we walk down the road and we would just be no talk to people and ask to be invited into houses and would sit with them with some with some great stories and some great memories of crazy meals with with eccentric families in Bombay back in the early 90s and the questions working out.

What do you want to see on television? What do you enjoy what you watching? What what do you watch on your own? What do you watch with your family and that going to be inside learning for us was always really critical.

We just carry it forward into what we doing here which is like under.

Fancy end customer we know everybody knows that actually watching television on a device of your choosing when you want where you want is a better customer proposition than having to be in front of the television set at 7:30 on a Thursday night so from a customer proposition perspective that is a better product, so we've just embrace that and run with it and because we haven't had the burden of incumbency of some of the big boys.

We've been able to embrace it.

So you know UKTV play, it's not even 2 years old and he now we're just about to tip into having 2 million registered subscribers in the in the UK It's a huge part of our viewing experience now and it's a huge part of our engagement with customers and we actually don't see it as disruption.

We see it as adding that next layer of Engagement without with our product.

We work really hard to make great TV shows and we want as many people to see them in her in any way that they can say.

We were embracing all of that new technology to get our content to customers frictionless easy as possible, so that they can engage with as an that allowed us to be really competitive what yeah, I mean you mention about that this shows that you producing when they're tired can of industry stereotype of UK TVs with the gold channels and classic comedy but the original she was like TaskMaster they're actually the most watched across your network and there's no criticism of anything that happened before 2010 UK TV you actually was set up in the early days as a business to exploit.

You know the quality and Hughes death of the BBC archive in the back in the old days when you notice before BBC3 BBC4 this is before the iPlayer shows would be showing a couple of times but probably most of it actually just a single time and tragically in some instances it be showing a single time and then the types of be wiped over for the next episode and somebody you know way before me decide.

It'll be a great opportunity to actually take that amazing content and get give people a second chance to watch it and that was the UK TV business model when it launched 20 years ago 2010 when I started we realise that actually with the introduction of video on demand that just felt like a better place to watch archive content in a linear schedule know when you want to go and watch a particular show if you want to go and watch Fawlty Towers then you don't have to wait for you.

Just come find and search for it and you can watch it as and when you please and so we realised that that would be a better solution and therefore we needed to also start moving into making our own content and is very deliberate decision for us.

It was very deliberate decision to bring a very distinct and different tone of voice to our production and our shows the Model what else has been done in them.

Marketplace we knew that we just could not compete against these usually funded terrestrial broadcasters and to cut through in that crowded market when you would be really hard, so we just we knew we had to try really hard and find something that we thought would ignite interest and you know the first Big shout out of the gate for us was Dynamo which went on to sell in 150 countries around The World Came went on to be a global superstar.

You know Dynamo was a piece of telling that had been rejected by most other broadcasters when it came to wise and Resources to fit the stereotype of a regional accents in the guy from Bradford on on on National Television you know even 2010 bit bit risky back then what kind of racist it was more regional list that is a fellow Yorkshiremen we do get this.

Don't worry he's alright, but we just gonna saw somebody with just an incredible Talent and we sure you know what this guy is already guardian sudoku.

Credit to the guys upstairs who follows the one I'm talking about was sitting in the basement of UKTV Towers supposed to the executive team sitting upstairs of others but credit to the guys upstairs who spotted that Talent and brought it to Azam worked and molded and created something with which went on to be a huge huge success and that for us was a real Turning Point that we knew that we could actually make something that if it was distinctive enough if it was had a unique tone of voice wasn't replicative or derivative of things were already been seen on television.

We could actually get things that could cut through and that was the start of the journey for us and we've been going at it now for best part of 8 years as we sit here today.

We got 100 shows in production right now this week, so it's scaled up an incredibly quickly and you're right the most of our top-rated shows are original content and that's because in order to get all the answers to come to.

Watch what you're doing you need to give them something exciting and something new and as archive is sitting in the video-on-demand space.

That's always available so there's no real appointment to view but if you can make something distinct and fresh and exciting you still can get large audiences past Masters prove that to as you know season 7 issued issued now.

What's interesting about how the audience is evolved for something like TaskMaster is now about half of its viewership is Is On Demand and half of its life and so we see the on-demand pieces incremental to the live up to the live audiences and it gives people another opportunity to spend time with Talent they live shows at the lab, and that's all good from a customer perspective and you think ultimately the customer journey is going to be one of moving anti-litter viewing online rat and doing on demand rather than that you're not watching linear television as you say television disappear for a certain.

Graphic is still the main way that they watch television but even even gave does we sit and have this conversation beginning of 2019 we were looking at some data couple of days ago and it went when you look at the younger end of the demographic audience demographics 16 to 24 year old TVs lost 20% of the audience in 12 months, so when you look at year-on-year comparisons between January 2018 and January 2019 20% of the youngest demos I've gone so it's really changing and it's changing is changing very quickly and you know I think the big Challenge for a lot of the larger broadcast is how do you stay relevant once you've Lost That younger audience of the old model we'll go out with her.

She know you stayed with networks from from the Cradle to the grave.

I just don't think I think that models gone and it's a big Challenge for everybody and I think certainly are perspective and our approaches.

And it becomes a it becomes a creative Arms Race who can be more creative who can make the best shows who can entertain people in the best possible way, they will be the winners because actually the technology in the distribution pigs which gave the incumbents and advantage is it's now ubiquitous and you know we can get content to as many homes as any other national broadcaster in this country and rebranding UKTV to FaceTime please dear if I mean that is a genuine Innovations so much so that I remember the time thinking that it was borderline foolish thinking wow.

That's daring.

Is that then you know because it could have failed at years from now.

We can see in in hindsight.

I was incredibly clever marketing movie.

Do you see Dave other TV channel or do use it as a brand given that there's so much that you can watch a bit you know on demand Dave Davies just your mate and it's a simple as that and it's the guiding principle that that drives all the editorial decisions around that Brand and around that channel which is it's when you want to go and hang out with him a

And you want to go and have a good time come come and spend time with Dave and you will never let you down.

I'm really good channel.

How many self-aware as well you know you I watch Mock the Week on Dave and they're saying a few years now with this will be on there when I cos I want to be on Dave catch up with the audience.

But you know anything that's on any of our channels.

Is is only on it because people love it.

You know people will be at people alright to me or treat me on social media whatever answer you know.

Why do you keep running Only Fools and Horses and wheat the reason we keep running? It is people watch Apple watch it in huge Numbers Station you're not going to run things without watching we can ago.

You know what the numbers are still with huge will keep going until people tell us that they've they're fed up of it.

All they've watched.

It's been over exposed but I certainly isn't happening.

Yes, I've been here and and that's why we keep running at because there's value in it people love it.

It's familiar just really good thing we see ourselves as the underdog will definitely the Challenger Brand and the Rocky Balboa of the commercial broadcasting group of people that have gathered to make UKTV successful of all got that mindset.

They're all kind of like Misfits and amazing truly amazing people but we built a very unique culture here in order for them to be able to do their best work and so we embrace that and I was thinking business.

It's always better to be underestimated where you going to take the business over the next few years, is it more of the same? Are you going to change Direction television is commercial television which is a business?

It's going to be some huge change in very simple broad terms with that stupid central revenue streams for a business like ours, but it can some advertising a lot of it comes from pay TV platforms both of those businesses are going through disruption right now advertising markets are changing we seen what's happened to print and a decline in print advertising in the last 10 years, so it's lot of change drogon the ad market.

There's a huge change in the distribution marketing who is sitting here having this conversation 5 years ago.

We wouldn't be talking about Netflix and Amazon Prime because they weren't here and yet in a very short period of time has come to dominate.

Yeah.

I dominate but they come they are they've come to make it though, they made a massive impact.

I think I'm from a customer perspective that's brilliant more choice.

I'm very much protein.

Voice and selling not I'm not sure I never been one for regulating competition out of the market.

I think the only the only people that suffer when you regulate competition out is the customer and anyone I think are Netflix and Amazon Prime and apples as they launched this year.

They've got great business models and their global business models and they will just bring more choice and great content and it will raise everyone's going to be more creative and make breda television that's got to be good to the end consumer.

So they know that doesn't worry me at all.

It's about for me the thing.

I worry about is making sure as the chief exec of this company.

I have an organisation that can adapt and change to that because there's no guarantees anymore that in incumbents survive digital disruption as a ton of cases of businesses that were dominant and well known cases.

Dominant organisations that failed to adapt to change and adapt to the introduction of Digital Business models that are no longer in business order in very different businesses to the ones that they weren't because they lost their lost market share my job is to make sure that you can see he doesn't doesn't end up in that situation and that then becomes about the culture of the organisation the ability to take risks the need and desire to keep trying new things failing fast try new things if they don't work you know no one gets fired.

We celebrate that kind of stuff in a way which sounds a little bit corny, but it is genuinely true.

We have a very open culture of where you know if people try stuff and doesn't work that's not that's not a black mark on people's records very different to the world.

We all can I grew up in and we all worked in where you made a mistake.

YouTube your bookmarks and and it could have quite a serious impact on your career.

I would say there are some organisations in this business there still a little bit like that quite frankly but you can't innovate without taking risks and you can't ask people to take risks if your environment does not support risk taking and I go to lots of lots of conferences, where you'll see leaders get up again.

You know where a high innovation risk taking organisation and the moment that someone makes a mistake that out the door and all that saying is they're saying the word but they're not living reactions and that's what could be critical to our success UKTV success is a huge team success Not About Me It's a huge team success and all of that success is shared with 1050 people there upstairs.

There are that really are innovating and changing and try and you saying taking editorial in creative risks or with the best intentions or we?

Full effort and and passion and commitment to what they're trying to do and my job is to make sure the support and they can continue to do that im different from you.

I take soul credit for the success of This podcast even though there is a hard-working team supporting me about going to deny the exist for the purposes of this recording.

I don't necessarily mean as other broadcasters, but like I have the UK TV and met your icon on my you know my iPhone I can watch your problems but I can also click on Angry Birds I can click on the Guardians app and look at their video content from there in a century of your competition is anything it's going to take make my eyes away from your contacts correct.

That's correct and I shoot you know we often talk about not just being in the television business, but being in the attention business and you know unless we can bring audiences customers to look at our creative output without a business model.

So it is all it is all about that is all about deep understanding of

What we think customers would like not necessarily what they looking for but what we think they would lie what would surprise them up would engage them and doing in that way, but we yeah we definitely need a tension economy, and I think that's probably why I love the younger audiences have done that probably are playing fortnite and computer games and that's a big Challenge for TV which was the MTV and print with the dominant Media for best part of 50 years and as new players in town.

That's just the world Wigan have to live in and it's going to get me know is Dr and things like that come to play that's just going to become more and more dominant the great thing isn't and the thing with allows us all to sleep at night is people love watching television, so it's not like the product broken and it's not like people are deserting television.

They just finding different ways to watch it and you know Lord of the loss of younger audiences is due to measurement rather than actually a younger audience.

Not watching TV they are watching television but a lot of the time.

They're watching it on devices that we can't measure so you know you've got of can understand what's going on with the measurement piece as well to really understand what's going on with your shit, but TV is a product is is in really good health is still the most dominant Media in most people's lives 34 hours a day you're viewing in the UK 5 hours in the us in our people spending more time with with our products and as long as we can keep innovating and being creative and entertaining them and surprising them.

I think we will continue to be successful and you think the increase in analytical tools that you have as a broadcaster helps you inform that decision is in the old days.

You just have some can I have rough approximation is to how many people might have watched but now as you as you briefly alluded to dare you can break it down in terms of demographics age range dwell time on the kind of things does that doesn't help or is it more about?

At is the price of everything and the value of nothing you have your commissioning a sure is it's literally a creative leap commercial company and data.

Is is critical if we mean that we make shows that we've loved internally that we thought was a mess things up with ever made and when we started drilling into the data.

We realise that wasn't something that we shared that was shared with a lot of our customers, so we can see that in the daytime and see how many people are leaving pretty much on a minute by minute basis, so we can see whether it shows building audience through its time slot whether it's losing audience which time slots and a data side of the business is is really important to us both on the linear broadcast in terms of really understanding what's going on there, but in particular on the video on demand side and machine learning and AI on UKTV play to use data in order to just create a bear.

Customer experience for everybody's so that thing in a wood with helping them discover great content that we think they're going to like and that means they going to spend more time in our ecosystem rather than somebody else's and that's good for a business.

It's good for them.

How does the machine learning Workspace like Skynet in Terminator secret bunker? It's the way that the software is being put together which is at once you go into a registration situation, which would we launched just over a year and a half ago.

It means that we can we got a better understanding of what people are watching when they're watching it and it allows us to super serve them on an individual basis and again.

It's a fundamental change in the business model of broadcast by its own definition means it's from one to many in a video on demand is the completely the opposite business model which is you've got now many individual customers and

My job is to make sure we can super serve all of them in a we toyed with the idea of actually be allowing people to customise their own channel because David been so successful with all we know we could have the Darren channel exactly right and it would just be all the shows that you wanted to watch but we thought was a little bit too spooky a little bit off from that one of little bit recommendations really important discoverability is really important and again better better products.

That's what's it all mine all the time.

It's how can we make a better product for the customer.

I think I was technologies witchcraft now is UKTV Discovery BBC Studios very hands-off then broke don't fix it exactly right and I think because we've been delivering in 36 quarters of consecutive growth, then.

You know they give us a lot of freedom to girlfriend.

And do what we think is in the best interests of the business.

I think you're my guiding principle is what's in what's ultimately what's in UK TVs best interests will eventually be in the child's best interests now that may not be the case on day one but ultimately will be in it and I think that that's been proven with just the rise of the financial performance of the business as well as the rise of the audience share side of the business as well, so I've got some really good board directors.

They're very supportive though.

That is going on with it and terminate whenever we've gone to them and then slightly crazy stuff.

They've been very supportive.

That's been widely reported at the BBC in discovery of agreed to break up UK TV and split the 10 channels.

Can you tell us the latest yeah? I trust it's not something I want to comment on it something that they are discussing with themselves.

I think probably the best way to answer it is we've built a broom business.

But if I could create another 100% equity in it and have to controlling shareholders they both be very happy, but I can't so yeah.

They are trying to work out where the best home for this businesses when the long-term and as owners that perfect within their right to do it and I think once said work that out then hopefully share that with it didn't UKTV might have a role in this new on-demand TV platform that the BBC iTV app planning as age to join forces on to take on the likes of Netflix series about the subscription vod market which is which is where people pay a monthly subscription to get access to content I actually do I think there is a role and there is actually a lot of expertise in this building and also a wicked of neutral so we can have said outside of all of the main broadcasters control and I think that could potentially be a solution whilst to stop them arguing.

American of some of the day today stuff again, you know we are priorities customer first and so that's how we would look at doing something like that.

What's in the best interest of the customer and we try and leave some of the politics and he goes to one side because they just get in the way of making good business decisions, so before you can't UKTV you've run global Media organisations all around the world.

Can you walk us through your career briefly give you always want to be a television executive.

I've never had a career plan.

So people ask me this all the time you know what's your career.

I've never actually had one ever + career + because I think they can they can narrow your Horizons if you cut yourself that rejected all I knew is I never wanted to be a lawyer because I've never met a happy one also advised advised that I give to my kids as well as you can do anything just don't become a lawyer.

But I cannot I knew I wanted to do something creative and you are wanted to work with creative people.

They make every day an absolute joy to come to work because it's always fun and it's always interesting as you're always dealing with new stuff all is always knew then you sure it's a new piece of Talent it's a new idea is constantly exciting and super engaging and you know we're dealing with the love.

You know with solving problems on her on her kind of hourly basis.

That was against between manage the business through to that just ruption Curve that worrying right now.

I never really had a career plan.

What's your proper job? I've never had a proper job now, so to Yorkshiremen move move from merchants.

Great documentary last night about the singer from ACDC talking about the Great North Road and how old is bands from from Yorkshire and Humberside

And all they always to take the Great North Road down to London to take fame and fortune.

What's your introduces Shed Seven nothing produced from Doncaster to produce musically battle that's for another podcast The Daily Show there, so I moved my moved to London I wasn't in the city originally so nothing to do with television solidify the fact that I really wanted to be in a creative space managed to get across into ATV business in the early 90s when BSB and Sky with two separate businesses and then they made a squirrel and a dish.

I've still got one somewhere and we all know when the two platforms Murs we all got made redundant.

There's a lot of people are looking for work at that time and early 90s the economy wasn't robust in the way it is.

Right now and then just threw a bit of luck a few connections was introduced to the guy that was trying to launch Start TV in Hong Kong so I went over there for 3 months today for 8 years.

This is pre launch satellite wasn't even satellite.

Just been recovered actually is Noel telco satellite that being brought back to earth and when was being reconditioned and rebuild for the TV show the whole pretty could have ended 91 and I could have been back and back in London in Mid nice one, but luckily they be cleaned it rebuilt it relaunched it and so they don't just burn up in the atmosphere build another one that she going to be going to spam reclaimed it brought it back repositioned it.

I don't know what do they do that anymore? I'm sure launching and building them is probably gone a bit cheaper than they used to be back then, but then we launch.

Start TV in early 91 did a deal with with no idea what you're going to do at the time so we went off to New York Designer with MTV to licence their brand Willis MTV Asia October 21st 1991 think from memory and I needed just took off.

I just took off and again it was the is the can of beginning of multi-channel television so most of Asia I just had very state state broadcasters and all the sudden we rock out with five new channels and there was a big big demand for it, but I go to India just telling you all get to India with walk up and down the streets of India's asking people strange questions and getting some very strange looks about that what we should be doing and we cannot realise that she bothered about Bon Jovi evening that can I stuff and Def Leppard which member 91 and Lesley Joseph and the exact Def Leppard

I don't think Jon Bon Jovi from the Mean Streets of Sheffield music scene most of it was cut from movies they done.

There's a video clip music clip industry by then, but people would pirate they take a movie that every Indian movie always has a dance couple of dancers in their music was a big part of the political stuff and then put it all out and that's what kids were listening to sew and work on a wheel locking up playing from base to Hong Kong playing ghetto Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and no one's listening to us and so I was pushing really hard.

I was head of programming then pushing really hard to go local and again.

It's an important lesson that I learnt very early on in my career which still plays out today here at UK TV vs.

Uno going going local and listening to what customers want and anyway.

Play that weird a big fall out with with fire, then TV didn't want us to go local they didn't think it.

Would they didn't think the MTV brand should have Asian music around it because it wasn't up to scratch which was arrogant beyond belief but this isn't it from someone very senior of Arkham City MTV is not about what local people on a watch it's about Sheringham what's hot in America and that was a big learning lesson for you because like we can stay relevant can be up there.

We will keep going so we can be irrelevant know what is all.

We catch you do something which engages with with with audiences and give them something that they want as so we'll have to a couple years we ended up having a bit of a public divorce from MTV at the time when did of launching our own music channel and literary at that moment.

We went 100% local and the thing just exploded they just absolutely exploded.

You know the day presenters we getting more pizarra getting off planes.

It was like being in a Beatles movie front page newspapers.

Whenever we went to town and it's because we tapped into the to understanding what was actually relevant in people's lives are not trying to broadcast to them, but trying to tell her understand it seems revolutionary Now doesn't it does and dinner and then we did the same we just took the same model we can't we just literally just literally did the whole region with the pre-match the same model which has been out the best of what's going on locally and Anakin of snapshot of what's going on around the world local presenters local dialect local languages and the thing the things that explode and child they really took off and then it was kind of personal vision of time to come back to London managed to get a big job working for Sony Pictures at the time.

And again, I think they'd heard of someone things that we done and that would Shakin it up and we stood for something which is something.

I think is very important in people's careers.

You've got if you've got to make a stand for something someone said to be very late if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything and it's again.

It's something I remind myself of every single day when I come to work as what I actually don't we standing for what are we trying to do? What are we trying to achieve in Underworld clarity within UK TV about what that mission and that purposes so came back to London and then did a seven-year stint at Sony pictures so big Hollywood film studio glamour limousines all that kind of stuff.

I was fantastic fantastic.

Dad a couple years of worldwide was brought in there to help get the company ready for the IPO when it was going to be separated and when that plays BBC worldwide commercial and I thought there was a great opportunities to build having come from a USB and seeing how.

Us Media dominated the world globally and how irrelevant UK media was there just wasn't even on the map in.

Oh, I think back in 95 in India this BBC news in that was it in around cut off so I can Tina been a good Friday I can afford you know what we could do something really interesting you and get English content onto a global stage at scale.

It's as good if not better than American contained the only reason the Americans are doing it is because they've been focusing on it for the last 15 to 20 years and if seen international markets as a way of helping grow domestic markets, but that wasn't to be for Political reasons they decided that separating the two businesses wasn't the right reasoning which brought me here.

That's basically it that's the courier owner in a nutshell.

It's been incredible adventure and did you have I mean? It's easy in hindsight to say what was Top of you to do list when you started but how much of this is as a result of planning and how much of it is can.

Serendipity how much of it is that is a happy accident? It's a bit of both actually lot of planning a lot of thinking a lot of preparation and a lot of clarity around purpose.

What does dieting things for me as I said earlier like my job is to create an environment where I think people can do their best work.

How do you do that a lot of things? Is it does that is another podcast because that's a 2 hour does a 2-hour narrative behind that because there was so much, but it basically means we can make this a two hour podcast of the principal bad.

It is dead simple is a free if you're in a competitive market and the things that you make his creativity because we don't make washing machines or car as we don't have a factory.

I can optimise your stuff.

I can't go onto the fraction form.

How can I increase throughput of washing machines by 10% which is the p not a lot of the lord of sea? Oh that's their life.

That's what they doing they looking at.

Know how they can improve supply chains in order to to increase profit margins and in the lead that can be operated by two people rather than three little thing you make sure legs out of the real thinking before you're going to compete and survive when I get in 2010.

There's no guarantee.

We were going to survive again business built on archive market disruption.

Everything is changing everything is up for grabs and how do we how do we get ahead of that and it was very clear to me that the only way we would stand a chance as if I could put the best team on the pitch absolutely the best team on the pitch and that that is my job is to make sure I've got the best team on the pitch every single day making sure that they delivering and that's about attracting and retaining Talent then you've got that you have an environment that people are attracted to to state the obvious option with.

EBay TV Sky the first couple of years it was really hard because UKTV wasn't seen as a place where people would come and do their best work now.

It's very different.

It's not gonna be little but will we get now 3 or 400 applications for every single roll 2010 we were out there in a dragging people into the building.

Can I come here for inbound applications for This podcast into being I'm glad that you've chosen us.

So yeah absolutely clear about what the what success looks like and how do we get them? How do we get them really to buy into an of again? There's lots of things that get measured in business, but the most important thing that gets measured is engagement of people that work with you and it's often done by the HR team doesn't make it to the top table, but it's the thing that it should think that I've

I'm very focused on and care very much about and I knew before I started in those kind of quiet weeks what you're transitioning out of one roll into another that if I could have cheap one thing it would be to make everyone that worked at UKTV give a damn about it's success and we've all worked in organisations were people just come in and then clocking in and clocking out of those were the days payment what you trying to do one thing everyone in there, then it would turn the future this organisation around and that again still to this day is one of the things that I say to myself pretty much every day is like I like rated environment and I've had the right people genuinely give a damn about the success of this organisation and and you can spot the ones that down and you know the energy we had a

Big change out when in the first couple of years were people were here because they wanted the job not because they wanted adventure and I was very much in the mood for an adventure and I thought we could do something really interesting and so we did have to change quite a lot of people are people out but were in a very fortunate position now where you know I've got 350 people that do genuinely give a damn about this company success and it means that they are you they are way ahead of me there faster than me.

They're out innovating me the best ideas are coming from there.

They're not coming from the c-suite down the coming from the bottom of the organisation up and it's an absolute joy to come to work when you've got people that that are really can I pushing the creative envelope and genuinely care about the organisation success and what's interesting about that is the ones that don't they don't they don't survive because they realise you're in the wrong place.

They go somewhere else.

Yeah, there's no way you can hide you either of you either in it for the adventurer.

Oh, you're in the wrong place and in order to do that yet, then have to go through all the Recruitment processes and in a we are recovery processes deliberately long.

You know we don't like people because they want jobs.

We hire people cos you want to come and work here and that takes months to get that rightfully in about the evening with me out within about 2 if I'm just so you know we have we have a lot of culture and values in mixture with bringing the right people in you know any other people can fake it in an interview with and that's not good and you know lots of organisations rush to get people in the door.

It's easy to get people hired a right.

It's really hard when they don't when they're not right hire in haste repent at leisure.

I know that I am a small business owner you can destroy a cold tuna with a single cynical individual so getting that stuff right.

It was really really important getting The Rewards In renumeration piece was right get in a can of making sure people reward.

Success you know I'm kind of going come on we're going on this big adventure.

We're going to be this great business.

We're going to grow I'm going to grow market share we're going to go out revenue unless I'm going to share the benefits of that with them then that's any relevant conversation to have so we had to change all the compensation schemes that the people felt that there is a reward for their engagement was that they would be financially rewarded for it as well and that's works.

Really well with restructured How We Do appraisals and and I should the appraisal storage kind and she wanted what amazes me still about businesses, how many people just do things because that's how they've always done them and other things.

I think will we be successful.

Is is not a single process where we've not asked ourselves.

Is there a better way to do this and just because we've done it that way for 25 years is it driving the right outcomes and if it's not we are quite comfortable with Binning it and you know so you know we do some we do some crazy stuff upstairs wee-wee stack the entire building every.

3 months everyone moves around its amazing help it I mean did the cliches need that people some people fear change, but what I've learnt over the years of running a small business is that there's also a group of people who actually can't be bothered which is just got to get the simple as they are drag on any business particularly, so you could tolerate that 1520 years ago when the business world with little bit more stable and evenly spread of dinosaur thin incumbents were very protected because they had infrastructure that wasn't available to anybody know you could we can have done a podcast Beano 15 years ago because we would have had access to this equipment in order to do it so it became you know the big radio guys had control of the narrative and now it's all just change the same television you never grossing YouTube and another online videos that there are no barriers to these markets anymore and yet you just going brace all that change and so.

If you're not there anything the only thing that is constant is change and it sounds like a cliché innit probably is but it is absolutely true as you've got to have a world you got to live in a world where even things that we are doing right now.

We should be prepared to close them down in 2 years time and go you know what it did.

It's job took a so far, but it's not right for the next leg of the journey and that is very different to see how I was trained and mentored when I first started working but I think it gives us real competitive advantages.

There are no sacred lands in our business is not working.

It's gone and you know there's not an issue with that.

I don't let no one no one Minds admitting that something is not working and happy to come home, so I just crisis very exciting dynamic workplace where you're constantly evolving and changing and dealing with new challenges and people are engaged in that success, but he seems evident to me that you're quite.

Thoughtful about your own leadership style that you're not there now.

I just said it's demeaning but not merely running the business, but you're also trying to work on your role as leaders as well as in it.

I think leadership changed quite frankly I think they're all good leaders and there are some atrocious leaders in this match.

If you've had bad role models you can learn about how destructive that can be and if you've had a good role models I can say what I think.

I think one of the key components of my own successes.

I've always had brilliant mentors and others had brilliant people that I work for and it's just been amazing taxi watch some of the best in the business and how they operate like an alarm for them, but then not just take that as a can of operating manual for for have to do it is just you gonna go to create your own and your leadership is about creating the right way.

Environment is about creating the right reward structure.

It's about dealing with things Bad Behaviour when it's not working right.

It's about getting the right people are getting the wrong people out of the organization, but but any salto about sending a very clear purpose and stretchy about what you trying to achieve what they want two things.

I'm very proud of here is the everyone in this building understands what UK TVs strategy is and I think we are medium and large-scale organisations struggle.

Is that you know that have a lot of a big strap planning team big strategy team logos and write some you know 500 page strategy deck that and it will go to the board in the Bulgarian love.

It great strategy well Thought through goes in the bottom drawer and then 2 years later the border going what why is nobody excuse in the strategy because no one bolt into it's just a document management speak.

And then so we very much we we we do a lot of stuff around to changing direction for the business and make sure everyone understands what we are trying to achieve and also what their role is in that strategic imperative.

So it will know it all fits together.

So they all can I feel a sense of Pride and ownership in the overall success of the organisation because they know that their little bit of it was a large bit of it is making this contribution to what were you trying to achieve so they know they matter but they also know that what that you're old trying to achieve collectively matters and we ask them as well.

We've been a year.

Do you think the strategies right? I think leadership is not about having all the answers quite frankly it's about being able to ask all the right questions and you know we often engage with them and see target groups of younger staff members together and go send it to check is this right this relevant.

I'm just gonna drive success and we get all that feedback in and and then we that gets fed into the CD player and and and and and factored into can I How We Make You Know the strip District plan is designed to make is to help management make capital allocation decisions.

That's what is therefore.

It's like we're going to do a B and C so let's make sure we've got the right money against A B and C in order to execute them possibly companies weather going to do a bit and then the capital allocation peace.

Just doesn't materialize because no one gets it and again.

They get frustrated why things on happening and they're not happening at speed.

So they things like that and and so yeah being self-aware of your own leadership style.

I think is important for any leader in a fast-moving business and you've also have to understand that people processed data and information in very different ways frustrating as a as a manager of a small business.

I just wish everyone was like a mini clone of me because they've been very easy to manage.

Objectives is to increase our market share of viewership share of linear and nonlinear assets and across the finance team would come in with green is a spreadsheet sometimes of data is what they now under and it's all in all accurate and it's all inside fall and you just see the creatives.

Just glaze over and it's meaningless to their numbers on a space so we are nearly always very much decided that would actually do a lot of Janet and James Version would do a picture version of it and we do a data version of it because we started to realise people would just people taking data in different ways some people wanted visualise some people are quite happy with with vertical tables of data so adapting your communication style not just your presentation.

Not just how you put presentations to get the how do you talk to to everybody you've got to understand that there that you can't one size does not fit all and you've got to engage with them a very many different levels in very different types of voices sound different.

Around different issues or with the first principle of this is about driving performance and success in a business and these are the three things if you get these three things right you could have his going to be in great health and that they got those kind of north star that died in Canada what kind of moon shots for us at the time because of you know one of the things we did in early on was we're actually wrote the press releases for 2017 and 2018.

We write them 8 years ago and we went ok wouldn't it? Wouldn't be brilliant if bang bang bang bang bang bang.

She sat in a room in a pub ehlers-danlos unlit rewrite the press releases and they've been very got the big strong guiding things for us about candle what we wanted to achieve and then as we've knocked them off one by one to see those releases Baker provided of course turned into English rather than gibberish pub Dewberry Scandinavian write in a minute until the end of the evening.

Really powerful way of doing a strategic plan with slide what does success look like I'm still in the spring forward fall want to be in 5 years 5 years coming to work.

What do we need to achieve for that to be the best five years of your career and it's a simple question but the depth and richness of the insight you get back by asking people.

What what you need to deliver for their moon in order for them to deliver for you is very empowering and again.

That's the that's the bedrock of what this company turnaround been about our small business for decades now one of these have loads of myself over that time is what my own shortcomings and it's been a joyous Discovery really cos it means that I can stop doing the things I'm not very good at what have you learnt about your own blind spots over the years understanding of them is really critical self-awareness is really cool.

We do know that the whole Company rates my performance here, so I get some pretty brutal feedback on a pretty regular basis, but it's important feedback and you know why I cannot I want to get that feedback from them as well.

Can you tell from the form of words as well? It's actually Janet in accounts even though supposed to be anonymous anonymous which is brilliant because he knows expletives in there and all kinds of stuff that is because some Great Bridge reading just randomly Attack of few people learn in the organisation of them.

I think the odd thing is about some pretty hard to say but Liars like to use complicated words and if you're not self-aware I've been in many meetings were not here, but in previous roles where people walk out and no one has any understanding about was just being sexist Albyn jargon, and gibberish and no one feels confident enough in.

Order to actually just say what does what does that mean? They're being self-aware it in that stuff.

I think is very important and I think it's actually perfectly that it's absolutely required and it's actually one of the key values within UK TV as everyone stays learning forever and one of my personal personal mantises can a student forever and I know you've got to keep learning you got to keep exposing yourself to new things if you sit in a corner office and think you know it all.

You're doomed and again that I think those command old style command and control structures different the 80s out.

They're the kind of tyres, Ferndown Industrial Revolution built for the creatively they were built with people round factories 24 Yorkshire we seen those factories and we don't people that probably worked in them where the boss cannon does a lot of telling and not a lot of listening and they worked in that environment people clocked in and clocked out and because

You had to run a production line at centre in the world just the world to change it so many of those practices still continue so that we don't have offices here.

I sit with everybody else is no visible signs of hierarchy at all.

The only thing I genuinely care about is the hierarchy of great creative ideas so annoying if you're not comfortable with you now sitting with everybody else then this is the wrong place for you to come and work and it really that really helped increase the quality and depth of our creative approaches.

What's driven driven all of our great.

So yeah, I just lots of old practices which people just blindly keep practicing and wonder why their businesses are declining and whatever but I've said this before and it's quite controversial, but I generally do believe that any businesses operating model model is predicated on command and control will be at business in the next 10 to 15 years.

I just can't innovate.

They can't innovate quickly and after can't I download business quickly enough the c-suite not listening to either their customers all their their staff in order to respond and and and change the direction of what the business is trying to do in don't we can talk and yeah, I think they think the digital world has bread a different different type of leader whose much more purpose-driven then you no command and control and I think there's a big lesson in there for everybody know we're not in a pub, but if you were to draught a press release now for where UKTV will be safe five years from now.

What would it say? I think it would say that we are not a product is unique in terms of the creative output the ability to surprise and why are customers is is unsurpassed by any one else in our business and there's no reason why doesn't there's no.

Reason why that can't happen the great thing about what she started on those creative endeavours is when you start to see audiences reward you with bigger and bigger numbers in terms of viewership, so that it becomes this virtuous circle the more creative we can be the better the TV shows we can make the bigger our audiences the bigger are advertising revenue the more valuable.

We are to to pay TV platforms at the distributors.

We know we went through a big test with that last year with Virgin when it's the first time of major network business have come off a pay TV platform woman and you know that our customers rallied behind us and it was resolved very quickly and and very successfully financially 4 hours so I said I think that would be the main thing.

I was kind of urge everyone to come to take creative risks continue to challenge keep challenging the status Quo stay close to the customer.

Understand where the market is going and where the customer is going and keep serving them with stuff that they just love to watch down his me hugely enjoyable conversation.

Thank you ever so much for you x podcast in association with big things Media


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