OTF BRISTOL SETS STAGE FOR CREATIVE EXPANSION
Karen Meehan promoted to COO of Academy Award-winning indie
Facilities expanded to meet global demand for high-end factual content
Off The Fence’s (OTF) Bristol-based production arm of the factual content company, has announced that it is restructuring its management team and expanding its production capacity to meet the surge in demand following its 2021 Academy Award for Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher.
To help drive OTF Bristol’s new organisational vision, Karen Meehan, who has been with the company since 2007, has been promoted to chief operating officer from head of production. In her new role, she will collaborate with OTF’s Amsterdam-based CEO Bo Stehmeier and Bristol-based chief creative officer Allison Bean to set the company’s operational strategy, manage its budget across its four locations in Bristol, London, Amsterdam and Toronto, and help implement organisation-wide goal-setting, performance management, productivity and secure infrastructure for its new three pillar business model.
She will also work to ensure that OTF’s employees operate in an inclusive environment, ensuring not only organisational outcomes are achieved but that team members work in a corporate culture that respects and encourages diversity, professional development, and mental and physical welfare.
Meehan, whose 30-year career in television has seen her work on programming for the world’s top broadcasters, including the BBC, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, ITV and Animal Planet, will also oversee the renovation and expansion of OTF Bristol’s facilities. Two new buildings are currently being renovated and, once completed, will increase capacity from six to 14 in-house editing suites, with the possibility of expanding this to 20 suites by repurposing office space. The project will also deliver an additional 13 offices with room to house 68 people, along with next-generation post-production facilities with ingest stations; online, graphics and grading suites.
Meehan said: ‘OTF is a fantastic company, populated with wonderful people, and I am looking forward to helping drive its new operational strategy and to implement ways in which our shared vision can become a reality.’
The expansion of the OTF Bristol production hub forms part of the ZDF Enterprises-owned company’s new creative direction, which was recently announced by CCO Allison Bean & CEO Bo Stehmeier. To respond to the evolving needs of its global client base, which spans both traditional broadcasters and the streaming giants. OTF’s new strategy focuses on three content pillars — Yesterday (history), Today (focusing on humankind’s relationship with itself and the planet through the genres of natural history, travel and adventure, lifestyle, crime and impact) and Tomorrow (science) — across three business models: OTF Originals, OTF Studios and OTF Fast. Integral to this strategy is also OTF’s ability to ‘super serve’ by acting as a studio, helping build, schedule and tailor new global FAST channels and using local crews from around the world alongside archive holders, IP financiers, producers of all sizes and platforms and hardware companies across the linear and non-linear spectrum.
Allison Bean CCO said: “For the last two decades, our Bristol production base has quietly been making some of the best wildlife programming in the world — a fact that was finally recognised last year with the Oscar for My Octopus Teacher. Karen’s appointment and this investment in our facilities will enable us to bring more, and even better, non-scripted storytelling to the world, produced by a more diverse team in a greener, kinder production environment.”