First signs of re-structuring at SMG

THE much-anticipated re-structuring of the TV division of SMG – owners of stv – has begun, as part of a 100-day review announced by new chief executive, Rob Woodward.

Though Woodward’s arrival, at the beginning of March, also involved the appointment of a new chair – Richard Findlay – and the announcement that SMG’s radio arm, Virgin, was being floated on the Stock Exchange, with a view to its disposal, what’s happening now are the first steps in revamping the way the company’s TV structure operates.

Woodward’s conclusion is that there’s been “too much complexity”.

It has led to three appointments being made: Bobby Hain is to be head of broadcasting, David Archer is to be head of ‘ventures’ (which includes, for instance, the hiring out of the company’s outside broadcasting facilities) and Elizabeth Partyka is to be head of content.

For Hain, he takes on a role similar to his previous one, as managing director of broadcasting for SMG TV;

Archer, meanwhile, was previously acting chief executive of SMG TV, and Partyka was previously head of SMG Productions – makers of network hits, Rebus and Taggart.

Partyka’s appointment is in an acting capacity, given SMG’s desire to recruit Alan Clements as head of content, from RDF Media, whom he joined as part of the purchase, 18 months ago, by RDF of IWC Media, which he was a director of.

A spokesperson said about Clements: “Alan will join us as soon as he has come to an agreement with RDF.”

It’s understood the changes yesterday involved a small number of staff – including Sandy Ross, the former managing director of Scottish Television – being offered terms to leave.

Said SMG: “As part of the 100-day review of the television business and its operations, the new management team have identified a need to simplify and refocus the business. An internal senior management restructuring of the TV business is being announced to staff today. We expect to finalise the structure in the next few weeks. The reorganisation means that some staff will be affected and they have already been informed.”

Formally, the TV business is now to comprise three parts: content, broadcasting and ventures, supported by the usual legal, IT, human resources, etc functions.

It’s not yet clear whether a focussing on content will mean, for instance, more Scottish content for Scottish viewers – a major topic of debate at a conference hosted only on Friday, by the cultural organisation, the Saltire Society.

In a statement, Woodward said: “There is currently too much complexity within the existing TV structure and I want to simplify this to ensure strong leadership, consistency and collaboration across the business. We are strengthening the business for the future. An appropriate single structure with people passionate about building the company in the digital world is a vital stage on the road to recovery.”

Continued SMG – whose annual general meeting takes place tomorrow: “As previously stated, further details of the new strategy for SMG going forward will be communicated to staff and shareholders by the end of next month.”