The television industry is undergoing a significant transformation, and at the heart of this change is the need for a shift in management culture. The old-style management, focused on wholesale distribution and individual success, is no longer aligned with the demands of the modern TV landscape. To thrive in this dynamic environment, the industry requires a new breed of managers who embody collaboration, customer-centricity, data-driven decision-making, and a willingness to embrace risk.

We talk a lot about how we are living in a time of uncertainty and that the TV industry in particular is not knowing what and how the future holds for them. It is, however, those that blazingly and courageously embrace the future that will shape it.

Our problem in the current state of the industry, is that we have too many business leaders and decision makers managing the strategy and operation in old style fashion rather than evolve into a more modern, future-proof management strategy and leadership roles.

Let me outline the characteristics of the old and new management styles, highlighting the need for change and the potential benefits it can bring. I must give the ‘old school’ managers some slack though: they can only be partially blamed for their outdated approach to management. This is how they all have been socialized. If you are now at the top in a major TV business, you probably started your career in the 90’s or even earlier. You were brought up in a business environment where TV managers were considered demi-gods, Linear TV was a mass product and TV studios and channels could literally dictate any rule to the market and consumer that they wanted and how ever absurd it might be. You grew up in decades of unprecedented growth, unlimited riches and stream-lined creative processes. No talk about User-generated content, disrupted distribution market and transformative technologies. It is hard to shed old skin, especially when you have become so accustomed to wearing it.

Old-Style Management Characteristics:

  1. Wholesale-centric Approach: In the old-style management, the focus was primarily on wholesale distribution. The concept of distribution was seen as a burdensome, must-have service rather than a modern sales process. This approach lacked a true customer focus, both from a wholesale and direct-to-consumer perspective.
  2. Creator-Centric Mentality: Old-style managers prioritized big-name creators and makers, often referred to as the “shakers of the industry.” Individual career advancement took precedence over collaborative effort, hindering the potential for collective innovation.
  3. Intuition and Expertise: Old-style managers relied heavily on their own expertise and intuition, often banking on their extensive network of industry contacts. While experience is valuable, solely relying on subjective judgment limited their ability to adapt and respond to changing audience preferences effectively.
  4. Shareholder Value: this is the old mantra of the old guard. They focus most of all in creating shareholder value (and hence filling their own pockets via related bonus schemes) and not in creating value for the audience per se.
  5. Technology-Phobic: lets be honest. Deep done old school TV management and leadership is deeply skeptical of any technological innovation and advancement. New technical opportunities are usually considered a threat and the first instinct is to check if that advancement might somehow cannibalise or kill existing revenue streams. Only once technology is widely adapted – and in most cases, when newcomers have already penetrated the market heavily – the management is willing to jump on the bandwaggon.

New, Modern Management Characteristics:

  1. Customer-Centric: Modern TV managers recognise the power putting the audience at the center of decision-making. Their first instinct is to improve the consumer experience and bringing products to them that entertain well and are comfortable to use.
  2. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Embracing a data-driven approach, modern TV managers leverage insights to understand their customers better and tailor content accordingly. Data not only helps them understand audience preferences but also uncovers additional sales opportunities and enhances the overall product, including leveraging e-commerce possibilities.
  3. Value Generation Over Shareholder Focus: Unlike their predecessors, modern managers prioritize generating value for the audience and users rather than solely focusing on shareholder value. This shift in mindset fosters long-term sustainability and creates a stronger connection between the content and its intended audience.
  4. Unconventional Partnerships and Risk-Taking: Modern managers are open to unconventional partnerships that push the boundaries of traditional TV business models. They embrace risk through trial and error, adopting a “ship first, fix it later” mindset, which allows them to scale rapidly and adapt to changing market dynamics.
  5. Collaborative, team-oriented approach: new managers often put the team first rather than themselves. With a few exception of those old style (often self-proclaimed) ‘business gurus’, the modern manager is more of a coach rather than a person giving directions. They are open to collaborate, sharing knowledge openly and embracing the value of the team, the community and combined knowledge and wisdom of a ‘swarm’.

We know for sure, that the television industry is at a crossroads, and the success of TV businesses hinges on embracing a new, modern management culture. By shifting away from wholesale-centric thinking, valuing collaboration, data-driven decision-making, customer-centricity, and risk-taking, managers can unlock new opportunities and thrive in the evolving TV landscape.

Are you ready to embark on the journey of transforming your TV business into a modern, customer-centric powerhouse? As an experienced consultant and trusted TV expert in the global industry, I can guide you through this exciting transformation process. My team and I utilize cutting-edge tools from the narrative organizational development method and employ effective change management strategies to help you pave the way to a more successful future.

Whether you’re seeking to enhance collaboration, leverage data-driven decision-making, foster a customer-centric culture, or explore unconventional partnerships, we have the expertise to support you at every step. Together, we can revolutionise your management culture and unlock the full potential of your TV business.

Contact me today to schedule a consultation and discover how our tailored solutions can propel your TV business into the modern era. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together and create a future filled with success and innovation.