Kirsty Wark

RTS Digital Convention: Start with the story

"This is my perfect job.” During more than 40 years in television, Gary Davey has worked across the board – from taking charge of all content and creative services at Sky Germany, to being the CEO of Hong Kong-based Star TV.

But it is only now, as CEO of Sky Studios, that he feels like he is in his dream role: as “the gamekeeper turned poacher – having been a broadcaster all my life and now being a supplier”.

Sky Studios' Gary Davey on why story trumps talent at the RTS Digital Convention 2020

He said he would not emulate Netflix and Amazon who had respectively agreed exclusive contracts with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.   

“The idea of having a talent deal is dangerous,” said Davey, who singled out Sky’s I Hate Suzie, HBO's The Undoing and Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit as among his favourite current shows.  

“What matters first is the story and then finding the right people - whether it’s the writers, producers, directors, cinematographers. 

How traditional broadcasters can tackle the rising threat of streaming services

From left: Julian Bellamy, Howard Devine, Kirsty Wark, Jane Turton and Dan McGolpin (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The BBC has responded to the rise of subscription video-on-demand services by extending the iPlayer catch-up window from 30 days to one year.

BBC iPlayer chief Dan McGolpin defended the decision: “TV works in seasons… it means that things which are on a yearly cycle, such as The Apprentice, will be there.” He claimed that audiences, months after transmission, can now be “substantial” – some 40% of Killing Eve’s audience came to the thriller after the original catch-up window.

The Rights Stuff | RTS Cambridge 2019

Julian Bellamy, Managing Director at ITV Studios, Howard Davine, Former ABC Studios Executive Vice President, Business Operations, Dan McGolpin, Controller, Programming and iPlayer at the BBC, Jane Turton, CEO at All3Media​ and Kirsty Wark debate what the rise of the SVODs will mean for UK broadcasters and producers in the greatest shake up of the TV landscape since the Communications Act of 2003 gave the indies the rights to the programmes they produce.

What commissioners want

Michaela Coel in Black Earth Rising

Take three very different commissioners, all united by a common purpose: securing and showing content that satisfies their audiences. But achieving that simple aim is rarely straightforward in an increasingly complex media environment.

First things first. Picking up from Tony Hall’s impassioned plea that policy makers act to protect the BBC, session chair Kirsty Wark asked Georgia Brown and Zai Bennett – from Amazon Studios and Sky, respectively – whether public service broadcasting was still necessary in these content­rich times.

Kirsty Wark's TV diary

It’s the party season but, rather than the usual dry sausage rolls and even drier quiche, BBC Scotland’s catering team pulled out the stops for the celebration of 10 years at PQ – that’s Pacific Quay to the uninitiated – on the River Clyde.

I have a love-hate relationship with the building. I love the architect, David Chipperfield, but the vast liner on the Clyde has often felt rather austere and underpopulated.

We made The Review Show there and, most memorably this year, it was the best and most modern-looking part of the BBC’s general-election night.