What does a production executive do?
Production executives are the business brains of production companies. They are responsible for ensuring the production company makes a profit at the same time as making sure all the relevant protocols are followed.
When a new show is ready to go into production, an agreement is made between the production company and the broadcaster, known as an editorial specification (ed spec). The ed spec clarifies what the production company and the broadcaster are required to deliver, including budget, content, style, duration, quantity and the delivery dates and formats of the completed programme. Production executives negotiate this and are ultimately responsible for delivering the production to the broadcaster. They also negotiate big contracts with the presenters or main locations and with external providers such as post-production houses, kit hire and catering services.
Production executives are found in larger production companies where a number of programmes are being made or in development. They oversee the resourcing of them all. They recruit a production management team for each production, so often manage several teams at once. They consider any risks associated with the making of each show and implement the policies required to ensure operational and welfare standards are met across all productions. They oversee the allocation of budgets and resources, all legal, compliance and copyright documents, staff and contributor contracts, insurance and health and safety.
They are strong leaders, motivating and developing their teams, driving change and making continuous improvement.
What’s a production executive good at?
- Leadership: be a direct, effective and diplomatic communicator, recruit, manage motivate and develop the best production management teams for the job
- Negotiation: secure the best deals for the production company, have keen business acumen and an up-to-date knowledge of the market
- Risk management: mitigate risk in all aspects of production, from financial to operational and welfare
- Implementing policies and protocols: ensure all productions follow health and safety and data protection guidelines, compliance and copyright protocol and maintain a duty of care to contributors and staff
- Business: manage a number of programme budgets at varying stages of production, marry staffing and production needs with resources