David Strachan is Managing Director of Tern TV. He took part in our recent International Development Programme, which included a trip to the US. Here’s David’s take on it.
Why did you apply for the IFD?
I’m lucky to have great colleagues who do a brilliant job and are fun to work with, but far too much of what I do is solitary. Whilst everyone else concentrates on their specific roles, somebody in the company has to have an eye across everything, balancing investment and spend strategy against the likelihood of revenue from commissions and secondary sales. And specifically in a Nation, trying to explain how we work to stakeholders and creating an environment in which our pitches might have success.
The chance to have monthly meetings with colleagues on the programme who are in the same business as me was one to jump at. We are competitors, but TRC is very good at creating an atmosphere of collaboration where we share and learn from each other as well as from the individual session facilitators and tutors.
As a company, our strategy has been to move from local to network to international. Network has not happened as fully or as quickly as we had hoped – some broadcaster strategy implementation has been disappointing. Meanwhile larger London companies are forging ahead with international so we needed to leapfrog to stage three. That’s a big step with still relatively small resources.
TRC’s course looked like the perfect catalyst – fast tracking high level experience, culminating in a series of good meetings in New York and Washington.
How did you beneift?
- A chance in the sessions to benchmark what we do against colleagues, and against the input from the trainers.
- Opportunity to talk privately to several of the trainers and ask advice on how to deal with specific situations and people.
- A sense of the value of formats.
And then of course the trip to New York and Washington DC, where we met commissioners and producers.
How have you used your IDP experience?
- I’ve introduced some American contacts to colleagues who have followed up with Skype pitching.
- We had news whilst I was there of a commission from one channel, and I was able to seal the relationship with several face to face meetings, which has proved valuable in the negotiations which have followed.
- Discussions with trainers have given added confidence to the company making appropriate strategic personnel decisions.