After two-and-a-half years as MD of Channel 4 International (distrib arm of the U.K.’s Channel 4), Bernard Macleod has decided to step down. His relatively short term may come as a shock, but Macleod insists the time is right. ‘We had completed a major part of C4I’s reorganization and put it firmly on the map of leading distributors in the world. Now is a good time to go, before C4I embarks on its next stage of growth.’
During his tenure with C4I, Macleod helped forge coproduction relationships with several major companies, including Discovery, PBS, The History Channel and Bravo. In addition, C4I became more widely recognized in the international arena, seeing revenues rise 50%. Macleod also broke away from the standard 30% commissioning rate among distributors, asserting that 25% was more just to producers.
Prior to C4I, Macleod owned a factual prodco called Cahoots, but says he has no plans to look back. ‘Although I am very attached to producing, it is not something I am likely to return to in the near future.’ Instead, Macleod intends to pursue educational opportunities and engage in media consulting work.
Macleod’s decision comes in the midst of major shifts in the U.K.’s factual landscape. He offers this perspective: ‘The future of factual in the U.K. is at a crossroads. The traditional funding paradigm has been challenged by diminishing broadcaster budgets and a more competitive distribution market – i.e. too much product. Until a new paradigm is in place that reflects income from the multi-platform universe that is evolving, it will continue to be a very difficult business in which to profitably succeed.’
Macleod’s resignation is effective January 1. As of press time, no successor had been named. Susan Rayman