Shoot: FOXTEL Telivision Centre, life beyond playout

The FTC has a new director, and Miguel Gonzalez talked to Adam Scott and central services manager Carolyn Booth about their plans to become a creative hub.

The former head of digital intermediate at Park Road Post Production has not, quite literally, finished unpacking after relocating from Wellington. With former director Mike Lilley moving to the new Olympic and Commonwealth Games Unit, Scott has the challenge of further expanding the awareness of the FTC in the minds of content creators. “There’s no doubt that the FOXTEL brand is well established, and by having the FTC, we’re opening it up and proving to the market in Sydney and beyond that rather than just being the playout centre or an end result, FOXTEL also has the studios and state of the art post-production facilities,” he says.

FOXTEL’s relocation to North Ryde was part of CEO Kim Williams’ vision of a ‘creative campus’, reproducing the old era of broadcast where producers, directors and programmers could share a creative atmosphere. Scott admits that the two television studios and sound, post and design services the FTC operates at their North Ryde headquarters have been ‘under the radar’, so showing their capabilities to potential clients and taking it to the next level is a high priority. The FTC’s two studios can handle simultaneous recordings or live events, with a clever control room and one crew that allows them to rationalise their resources. They will see at least four series being shot this year, along with other productions for corporate and creative companies. Their operational division has always been able to provid services to clients beyond their platform, but that fact has not been widely known in the production and television markets. “We’ve been through a two-year process to develop what the FTC is and what we’re able to provide. Adam is that second level of evolution,” says Booth.

It’s still early for Scott to define a new direction for the FTC, but he knows he’s ‘inheriting’ a company ‘in a pretty good shape’. “Coming in from the outside, I can bring a global view of things. I’ve seen how companies like Star TV (Hong Kong) and the ABC (USA) operate, so I’m bringing all that experience back here. One of the reasons I came on board was because of the expansion with the FTC, and trends like HD, tapeless environments, and other cool things that are now happening in the industry. “It’s good to have someone who’s been involved in that outside of Australia, because many of these things haven’t really hit our shores yet. New Zealand is ahead in terms of technology because some companies trial things there; it was great to observe and learn from that. We have the same trends here; it’s about making the person sitting at home have a better experience by offering multiple channels, time-shift options, portability, broadband, interactivity and home networking.”

While Scott admits that there will always be ‘an element of watch and see’ before introducing major innovations, Booth adds that FOXTEL sometimes it’s not about being first. “We want to put solid experiences into the market. We’re progressive and aggressive; when we go, we go hard.” In terms of management style, it will be all about servicing their clients’ needs. “Traditionally, you waited for clients to come to you and said ‘I’ll make your show for you and I’ll put it to air’. That has changed.” In the end, what the FTC is looking for are clients that are worthwhile and bring a ‘cool factor’ with them.


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