C4’s Jay Hunt: SVOD model threatens copros

EDINBURGH: The outgoing Channel 4 chief Jay Hunt has questioned the SVOD rights model Netflix and Amazon are currently using.

Jay HuntIn her final controller session here at the Edinburgh International Television Festival before she leaves the UK terrestrial broadcaster, she told delegates that while the on-demand giants’ model was working, more difficult conversations were ahead as rights ownership becomes the central issue and had presented “a big conundrum”.

She pointed out that Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick, which is being coproduced with Amazon, and other copros with Netflix as examples of how major free-to-airs can work with SVOD services, but suggested the model was not long term.

“Right now we have some hugely successful partnerships with SVOD players,” she said. “These big players are coming in and saying they like what we do, and that’s fantastic.

“Over time, you have to consider where the brand attribution sits in all of this, and it becomes a more complicated conversation, as those big players want to have their own content and own originals. How does that coproduction conversation evolve?”

Hunt is soon to leave the broadcaster after seven years, joining towards the end of 2010. She was tipped to replace the outgoing CEO, but dropped out of the race before former Shine Group chief Alex Mahon was named as the replacement.

In her swansong to the UK industry, she warned producers to become better at handling their business affairs or risk problems. “We are moving into a phase where you can’t just be a great creative, but also [need to be] a great creative entrepreneur and deal maker,” she said. “That will be a fascinating new phase of where we work.”

Hunt, a former Channel 5 and BBC One chief, laughed off rumours she may join Netflix, responding a suggestion in that kind by saying: “Am I?”