Well known internationally as head of Southern Star sales, which she quit before Mip in April, Robyn Watts is attending Mipcom as one of the most powerful women in Australian TV: She’ll surface on the Croisette in the newly created post of content rights management director at pubcaster ABC, Oz’s biggest importer of Brit fare.
Watts holds sway over the pubcaster’s sales, acquisitions and co-production activities, and, drawing on her years of sales experience, will handle negotiations on behalf of TV head Gail Jarvis and development head Guy Dunstan, a former Star TV general manager.
It is believed that Watts will look to forge better deals for ABC, which is reeling from budget cuts imposed by the conservative federal government. The pubcaster also underwent a management clean-out since the March appointment of former Thames TV deputy chief exec Jonathan Shier as new topper.
Watts may explore multichannel buying for feevee, online, video and merchandising rights to select properties to protect the value of ABC’s terrestrial content and perhaps to on-sell some rights back in Oz.
“We’re just bringing a focused and streamlined approach and, generally, the aim is to maximize opportunities for ABC in every way I can,” says Watts. “Over time, you’d hope to increase cash flow to buy more programs for ABC through prudent exploitation of rights and synergies.”