A view from the top
By David Abraham, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 23 May 2013 08:00AM
I meet my colleague Dan Brooke at Horseferry Road at 9am and then cycle to Newhaven as part of our training for a charity ride to Paris next month.
The security team are startled to see us – must be the Lycra. Later, enjoy watching Channel 4 winning four Baftas before an early night.
Monday: a mixture of routine meetings and preparation for our annual results presentation with the chairman, Lord Burns. Quick interview with the London Evening Standard. Sandwich at ITN with Jon Snow and the news team, then over to Portcullis House for a catch-up with Harriet Harman. Into a select committee room to brief interested MPs on our results. Our prior deputy chair, Lord Puttnam, turns up for moral support.
Tuesday: present our 2012 report with our chief creative officer, Jay Hunt, and Lord Burns to the press in the C4 cinema followed by Q&A. Our main messages are that we spent a record £434 million on original UK content in 2012 and held overall revenues flat in a market marginally down; grew online revenues by 50 per cent; and spent less than 10 per cent of our £290 million cash reserve on initiatives such as registering 7.5 million viewers and launching 4seven. Business journalists grasp the narrative, but some tabloids criticise the principle of performance-related pay. My use of the word "naïve" widely quoted. Am reminded of the constant need to explain that Channel 4 pays its own way but delivers public good such as the Paralympics coverage.
Sandwich and then a radio interview for The Media Show. Catch-up with Hunt, who is about to leave for LA for the screenings. Talk tactics and budgets. Damian Lewis gave her quite a lot of detail about the Homeland plot for this autumn at the Baftas. Over to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to meet with the senior team at the Shareholder Executive, one of our statutory links with Whitehall. End day with friends at the opening of the new wing of Tate Britain. Bump into Jeremy Isaacs, our founder – still going strong at 83.
Wednesday: all-day meeting with our board. Our impressive group of non-execs from a broad range of creative and commercial backgrounds supportively, but forensically, debate the bigger issues. We table a number of initiatives and investments and agree to move forward with the majority of them. The day ends with a trip to a bike shop in Sheen where I meet up with Krishnan Guru-Murthy and the team riding to Paris. We meet the founder of Duchenne Children’s Trust for whom we are raising funds.
Thursday: catch-up with [the sales director] Jonathan Allan, who is fresh from launching BT Sport at an event in our cafe last night. His team has devised a fantastically innovative way to package the airtime. Take a call from an ad sales partner at UKTV, then speak to a software supplier in India who is bidding for a major contract with us. Employee reps meeting and then dinner with my son at Bar Zédel.
Friday: interview with The Times followed by meetings. Sandwich with Professor Nicholas O’Regan of the University of the West of England. I spoke at one of his events a few months back and he wants to capture more for his business journal. End with a planning meeting for the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention, which I shall chair in September. Friday night is quiet in preparation for more cycling tomorrow…
David Abraham is the chief executive of Channel 4
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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