My Media Day: Jack McGill, chief executive, QTV Sports

JACK McGill has been CEO of Glasgow-based production company, QTV Sports – formerly QuipuTV – for a little over three years, having previously spent ten years working in factual programme-making at BBC Scotland, STV, and IWC Media.

Says Jack, the business started with a desire to see more cricket coverage, “but was quickly followed by the identification of a gap in the market for livestreaming sport as an alternative to mainstream broadcasting”.

He submitted this on Monday, February 3.

What exactly is it that you do?

Sell. Constantly sell. Occasionally, I’ll still produce the odd bit of sports coverage and perhaps distract myself with marketing campaigns, social media channels, or the website; but, to all intents and purposes, I spend most of my time selling. Come to think of it, all the aforementioned distractions are a necessary part of the sales process. Such is the entrepreneurial life.

I have a list of sports organisations, in Scotland and much further afield, which I think will benefit from the kind of digital content production and outside broadcasting we provide. The list is long and I’m only really now getting up a head of steam. If you work in sport and I haven’t spoken to you yet, chances are I will this year.

We’ve now worked with 17 sports to produce live and post-production coverage of their events – all for online (with some residual sales to broadcasters) – and we are one of the UK’s leading providers of digital sports content and content strategies.

I’m also really lucky to have a young and very hungry team who are technically literate (in a way I’ve never been), love exploring new production hardware and techniques, and who all share a passion for sport and a belief in our mission to transform coverage of sports in Scotland.

What did your working day today or yesterday comprise?

This week has been remarkably varied – insofar as each back-to-back meeting has been about something different.

Yesterday, I spent time with my post-production team ensuring our highlights of the Scottish National Badminton Championships would be published in time (they were) and checked-in with the production team covering the equivalent English competition.

I submitted two tenders to major UK sports governing bodies for work this summer, either of which would prove a game-changer in terms of turnover. And I spoke to two further European confederations about their forthcoming events (with bids promised by the end of the week).

I met too with our website developers to iron out some kinks in the new site that officially launched (along with the new QTV Sports brand) on Friday. I responded to at least 80 emails received in the wake of that launch – covering everything from job applications to rights acquisitions.

I sat with the team producing our six x 30-minute Cricket World Cup studio shows that we’re filming in Glasgow over the next six weeks and then bid farewell to the crew that’s travelling ‘down under’ to the Cricket World Cup to produce the VTs for show (among other broadcast requirements).

I’ve packed a bag for a five-day trip to Leipzig for the Indoor Hockey World Cup (from Wednesday) and, in between all of that, made my first leap from Windows to iOS, by purchasing a MacBook Pro. I also watered the plants in the office, which I found calming.

How different is your average working day to when you started?

Pressure. At the start, it’s a dream, but there’s only you and maybe a partner and its emotionally manageable. Then the dreams become reality, but so do the responsibilities – to staff, to a young family (who also weren’t there at the start), and – if you are doing it correctly – to bigger and better clients. It’s a rollercoaster. I had never experienced anything like it until I started my own company.

Ambition. The scope, on any given day, of what I want to achieve, or think I can achieve now, eclipses the combined ambition of the last three years. It’s like that claim that the number of photos taken in the world on any given day is greater than the number taken in history up to that point. It feels a little like that, and, every so often, I catch myself and get a little tingle of ‘what if?’. That keeps me going.

Time. Time vanishes alarmingly quickly. I’ll speak to someone behind the till at the shops and they’ll say something along the lines of “at least it’s Friday”, a sentiment with which I now fundamentally disagree. I’d like it to be Tuesday all year round. I’ve stopped recognising weekends and public holidays. I think that went ‘out the window’ with football schedules: there’s football on TV every day of the week so how can you tell the weekend apart anymore?

How do you see your job evolving?

In a fundamental way, it can’t. The company ethos and mission is predicated on my own vision and values. I have to keep instilling them into every person who walks through the door and I need to infect potential customers with the same ‘bug’ that infected me.

I suspect that the job, inevitably, will become more political as our role within Scottish and UK sport grows. I’m happy with that because I’ve deliberately positioned us as partner for, and strategist in, the development of sport, not just a production company that simply rigs, shoots, and leaves.

And I’d like to be selling less and managing a little more.

As long as I still water the plants.