ABC Managing Director David Anderson has announced the appointment of Chris Oliver-Taylor to the newly created role of Chief Content Officer.
This position will report to the Managing Director and be responsible for the new Content division created from the merger of the current Entertainment & Specialist and Regional & Local divisions.
Oliver-Taylor brings a unique skillset and experience to the ABC after a career that has established him as one of Australia’s most successful content leaders and producers.
Currently Netflix’s Director of Production for Australia and New Zealand, he has been at the forefront of the screen industry, including previous roles at the ABC and BBC.
Since that time he moved into the independent production sector as Managing Director of NBCUniversal’s Matchbox Pictures, leading them to three SPA Producer of the Year awards as well as multiple commissions around the world. He then became CEO of Fremantle Asia Pacific, responsible for the creative output of one of the biggest production companies across the Asia Pacific.
David Anderson said the appointment to this unique role comes at an important time in the ABC’s history.
“Chris is one of the most experienced, both locally and internationally, content leaders in the industry with a well-honed sense of audience expectations and creative trends across platforms and technologies,” he said. “The ABC Chief Content Officer is a role that requires leadership across all content platforms – screen, audio and digital – and must have the right creative approach to support the work of all our content teams and deliver for the Australian public.
“I am very pleased that a leader of Chris’ experience and calibre is joining us for the next stage of the ABC’s story.”
Chris Oliver-Taylor said: “This is a critically important role for the ABC and I am absolutely thrilled to bring my experience of leading incredibly talented people to the ABC at a vital time in its history.
“In a time of infinite choice across screen, audio and digital, we must deliver high quality and impactful content that resonates with all Australians, and I know to deliver this impact you can only do it with an amazing team.
“I am very much looking forward to working with David, the Leadership Team and all the talented people at the ABC to ensure the ABC continues to be trusted, relevant and valued into the future.”
Anna Mallett, Netflix VP Production for APAC/EMEA/UK said: “Chris is hugely talented and has made significant contributions leading our studio in Australia and New Zealand since joining Netflix. We are enormously grateful to Chris, wish him every success for the future and look forward to working with him again as a content partner.”
Anderson acknowledged and thanked Jennifer Collins, who has acted as the ABC’s Director, Entertainment & Specialist for the past nine months.
“Jennifer is an outstanding leader and has done a wonderful job,” he said. “Chris and I both look forward to Jen performing a significant senior content role in the newly merged Content division, leading the content strategy into the future.”
He also acknowledged and thanked Warwick Tiernan and Lee Glendinning for their excellent work acting as Director, Regional & Local since Judith Whelan took up the role of Editorial Director earlier this year.
Both Jennifer and Warwick will continue in those roles, reporting to Oliver-Taylor when he commences in late March, until the new Content division comes into effect from 1 July 2023.
The creation of the ABC Chief Content Officer role was announced by the ABC in 2022 as part of the proposed restructure of the E&S and R&L divisions into one division: Content.
Announcing the new role, David Anderson said the ABC needed to make important structural changes to ensure it could adapt to rapidly changing audience needs and market trends and maximise the impact of the ABC’s services across audio and screen content.
The new structure will take effect from 1 July 2023.
Chris Oliver-Taylor will join the ABC in late March and the acting Directors of E&S and R&L will report to Chris from then until the new structure takes effect in July. He will be based in Melbourne.
Chris Oliver-Taylor started his career at the BBC in London working at BBC Sport, BBC Music Entertainment, BBC Entertainment and BBC News, in both radio and television, before working in various senior roles at the ABC, including Head of Television Production in 2005 and then Head of Television Business & Operations in 2008.
In 2011 Chris moved to the independent production sector as Managing Director of NBCUniversal’s Matchbox Pictures, building the business into a creative juggernaut and garnering numerous Australian and international awards. These included 20 AACTA awards, an International Emmy, three Kidscreen Awards, a Prix Jeunesse, nine Logies, four Australian Directors Guild Awards, six Australian Writers Guild Awards and nine Screen Producers of Australia Awards, including three-time Producer of the year.
In 2018 he joined Fremantle as CEO Asia Pacific, responsible for the creative output of one of the biggest production companies across the Asia Pacific, including executive producing Netflix’s huge international series, Heartbreak High.
In late 2021 he was appointed Director of Production for Australia and New Zealand for Netflix where he has taken production responsibility for every series and film produced across the region.
Oliver-Taylor is a current Board member of AFTRS and Screenworks and a former Board member of VicScreen, Council member and President of Screen Producers Australia, Board director and Deputy Chair of Screenrights and Global Operating Board member of Fremantle.