That Was the Year That Was (2013): David Strachan, MD, Tern TV

GOOD year, bad year? As 2013 draws to a close, we ask David Strachan, managing director of Tern TV: ‘How has it been for you?’.

Briefly, what is it that you do?

Managing director of Tern TV, based in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Choose three words that sum up 2013 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Bigger, better, international.

In 2012, what was your biggest professional ambition for 2013, and to what extent did you achieve it?

To spend less time working in the business and more working on it. An old cliche I know, but valid nonetheless.

The old model of two of the principals being heavily involved in production – to contain overheads and ensure stability for the third to work on development – was not working. As we have grown and restructured it has been fun and productive for me to let go of some production in order to manage other previously-neglected elements of the business, like distribution of our programmes in secondary markets, and to have more time to be firmer in the negotiations we do.

But, of course, no TV person wants to be far from the action, and I’m very proud of what colleagues have done to make one of our series, The Harbour, a hit with the audience.

How has 2013 (so far) been for you, personally?

Interesting. Good friends and contemporaries are having children while my offspring are delivering grandchildren. Being a first mover always has its advantages. Expanded family gives perspective and balance.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

The forthcoming referendum is pretty critical. It could change the context in which we do business, radically. At least the way our Scottish side of the company does business. It is an opportunity for us to engage with decision-makers in discussion about how production and broadcasting in Scotland can be changed, and I welcome that.

What looking forward to, in 2014 – personally and professionally?

Personally, I’ve two passion projects of my own that I hope will go into production. And yes that is personal even more than professional. Professionally, we are all learning a lot as we move into new genres and increased volume. I’m also looking forward very much to the debate on how broadcasting and production should be structured in Scotland. It is still far from right, and despite all the targets, not yet achieving cultural balance.