Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?
Government policy and regulation touches pretty much everything we do on a day- to-day basis, so I would have to say communications minister, Stephen Conroy. From the amount of advertising we can sell, to the accuracy of our electronic program guide data, we have to check the rules every time we take a breath. Importantly, though, I think Senator Conroy gets the fact that this industry is going through a period of major structural change and he has taken some positive steps to make sure we can keep doing what we do, particularly for local content.
What one medium could you not live without?
Free-to-air television. I tend to consume content on many devices at different times, but most days when I get home from work I just want to relax and watch a great comedy, drama or reality show.
Your one guilty media pleasure?
Marathon re-runs of my favourite comedies on weekend afternoons.
The next big industry trend is…
Television shows with high-quality second-screen companion content. We have commissioned a drama called Secrets and Lies: The Track which will have companion storylines available as substantial digital media extensions.
If you weren’t doing this for a living what would you be doing?
At times I’ve thought I might like a career in politics, but maybe I just watched too much of The West Wing. When ER was hot I wanted to be a doctor.
Your best piece of career advice…
Learn everything you can from brilliant people. Get a job making coffee and running errands for a few years and you will learn more than you ever expect. Education is important but real experience is critical.
Would you recommend working in this industry to your (hypothetical or otherwise) kids?
Yes, if they were passionate about it. It can be extremely rewarding if you are willing to work hard. But it is not a job, it is a lifestyle.
What is your favourite television program at the moment?
Picking one is very hard. I love Homeland, Offspring, Modern Family and Entourage but right now I am really enjoying MasterChef: The Professionals. Marco Pierre White and Matt Preston are a great team and really compelling to watch.
What is your favourite Aussie ad?
I loved the Peter’s Ice-Cream Drumstick ads that were on every year. They always felt like summer.
Beverley McGarvey is the chief programming officer for the Ten Network.
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