Information moves more quickly than ever before. Included in this nowadays is entertainment. While it used to be music downloads, we presently see the entire season of a TV program released in a day, and films come out more and more expeditiously whether new productions or classic time capsule fare. All of this results in a closer relationship between the artists who create these works and those who are able to deliver them to the public. Red Touch Media (RTM) is a company which licenses and distributes entertainment content. It has created a world class content management and distribution system. The conduit between RTM, the artist/companies who have content to distribute, and the public is event producer Ian Pickup. As the professional who plans and manifests the situations/venues between those who “have” and those who “want”, Ian is the M.C. if you will of the modern entertainment mogul parties. Helping RTM to present their product at global prestigious events like MIP TV and MIPCOM, Pickup facilitates the meetings and conversations that lead to the rest of us being able to watch our favorite productions (and listening or reading them, depending on the situation). Whether it’s events in Cannes, Liverpool, Sydney, or others, Ian Pickup has found himself in the enviable position of being on the cusp of modern entertainment technology, while not actually being a filmmaker himself. If there is such a thing as a professional entertainment wingman, this event producer is at the top of the heap.
Held in Cannes, MIP TV and MIPCOM are where a significant portion of the worlds TV and film content is sold and purchased. These massive events facilitate and determine what a great deal of the world watches. RTM provides software for many studios at these markets who use RTM software to manage all their digital assets as well as to sell this content. It is a critical part of the sales process. If you think of MIP and MIP TV as a marketplace of digital and entertainment content, you have the right idea. RTM’s job is to help studios use their software to display, manage, distribute, and ultimately sell that TV & film content. At MIP TV (which focuses on television content) Pickup finds himself on site from the very first set up of RTM’s venue to the final stages. During MIPCOM (which focuses more on film), Ian is responsible for the overall Operations and works closely with Reed Midem (the event organizers). With an attendance of around 14,000, MIPCOM may be the somewhat larger event but current trends show that more and more of the viewing public skews to the comfortability and accessibility of TV programing (though film as well is becoming more available). Pickup states, “RTM is very aware of how things are evolving in the entertainment industry and it is passionate about being a leader. I appreciate the proactive nature of this. These two events are a requirement for anyone who is part of the industry. Company executives are often asked to be on panels to talk about the latest technology and trends. Given our position as a prime distributor of digital content to underserved markets, we really do see where things are headed and what might shape the market.”
As an event producer for RTM Ian takes part in a wide variety of tasks. One minute might find him renting a yacht and hosting a dinner, then next might be throwing one of those parties that he is famous for; not in the sense of lavishness but rather in terms of providing an atmosphere of fun. In fact, Ian takes great pride in the fact that the events he creates are not solely focused on the spectacle but rather in creating a relaxed form of respite from what may have been a chaotic whirlwind of meetings and discussion that are a necessity of the situation. It’s somewhat surprising to hear that the person in charge of gathering great groups of individuals is adamant that his role is one of facilitating personal connection. The show itself is more about relationships than logistics. Coordinating with unions, installation teams, and multiple companies doing different things on the installation is a really big part of the job, to say nothing of the multiple languages often involved in these events. As Ian puts it, “Most of the deals are made outside the ‘formal’ parts of the show. Parties, dinners, off line meetings, anywhere where you can get to know someone on a deeper level rather than simply as ‘Steve from Sony with a quota.’ Our reputation in the business is one of deep relationships with not just our clients but people in general, we know how to develop relationships and we are good at it. Yes, I’m a professional who produces and coordinates events but I honestly think of my role as someone who creates an environment where people can relax, have fun, and be themselves. I think this is what allows people to understand if they want to do business with someone…when they feel as if they’ve truly met them rather than simply that person as a representative. It takes a lot of work and preparation to create that environment though.”
Meeting like MIPCOM and MIP TV are examples of the continuing evolution of entertainment in the world. RTM’s pervasiveness is in a positively correlated path to this and Ian Pickup is keenly aware of this relationship’s benevolent effect on all involved parties. His incredible aptitude for organization makes him skillful in his career but what makes him the recipient of such immense accolades is his focus on the personal touch. He communicates, “Whether it’s the people I work with or the people I see at our events, it’s all about getting to know each other better. Working side by side with someone gives a window into their character that is not usually apparent from casual conversation. It’s important to work with everyone both internally and externally to make each event smooth and great!” This sentiment is echoed by Wayne Scholes (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Red Touch Media) who states, “Ian Pickup is an invaluable member of our management team and has always proven to be particularly capable of adapting to any manner of challenging situations during live events. The fact that people are always willing to ‘muck in’ when required is an absolutely crucial factor in the success of any business.”