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Top UK Producer John Lloyd Ponders Going Direct-To-Fan - Deplores State of UK Commissioning System

written by: Richard Kastelein

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johnlloydJohn Lloyd, the powerful UK producer behind Spitting Image, Blackadder and Not the Nine O'Clock News has recently accused timid broadcasting executives of stifling the best young British comedic talent and said he wanted to produce his own short form comedy on the Internet.

He is planning to use his QI production company to challenge broadcasters online.

In an article in the Independent recently Lloyd told The Independent the current comedy commissioning process is "moribund":

 "It simply doesn't work," he said. "It doesn't produce better programming than the old system, it's slow, frustrating and expensive. There's a lot of sucking of teeth, changing of things and fiddling about. Then the show either doesn't go on air or it is unrecognisable from the original idea."

"It doesn't produce better programming than the old system, it's slow, frustrating and expensive. There's a lot of sucking of teeth, changing of things and fiddling about. Then the show either doesn't go on air or it is unrecognisable from the original idea."

He claimed that there had been a transformation in the commissioning process since the days of Spitting Image and that today's broadcasters were risk averse and unwilling to put their faith in creative talent.

"There were no development departments in television companies in the Eighties. A producer had an office and a PA and you sat in your office and every so often you had an idea - about twice a year, usually - and you'd rush into your head of department and say:  "I've had this brilliant idea, or I've got this script," he said. "It used to be the creative people driving the bus and the administrative people enabling them, not the other way around."

Lloyd applauded Netflix for its hands-off approach to commissioning, by hiring "good people and saying 'you do it'".

Interesting to see the first seeds of push-back from the creatives who see new paths to reaching their audience. Lloyd is one of the first big players in the UK to stand up and point out the obvious alternatives as online and connected TV mature. All3Media was another last year.

All3Media, with technology partners and Paywizard, created the first producer-to-fan direct VOD application, called A3M - Best of British TV. The app unleashes 230 hours of its catalogue TV shows including Skins, The Only Way Is Essex, Midsomer Murders, Derren Brown and Peep Show on internet-ready Samsung and LG televisions from its over 20 independent production houses. In the US market.

Lloyd was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting.


About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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