Consumer >> CEO Interviews >> October 8, 2004


CHRIS HUNT is Chief Executive of Digital Classics plc, which comprises the production company Iambic, Digital Classics Distribution, and Digital Classics Education operations. Born in Bristol in 1954, Chris Hunt was educated at Clifton College and Jesus College Cambridge, to both of which he won scholarships. Leaving as an M.A. Television Features Department in 1979. After making a variety of programmes for them, he moved on in 1984 to produce and direct ITV's "The South Bank Show". At the same time he formed Iambic Productions Ltd., which has become one of the UK's most respected production houses for arts based performances and documentaries. As a producer, Chris Hunt currently holds a remarkable record: all his arts documentaries since 1991 - a number well into double figures - have won or been nominated for major awards, contributing to his current total of over three dozen. Chris Hunt has also produced and/or directed major films of musicals, operas, concerts and plays from the (International Emmy winning) feature film of "Oklahoma!" to "Romeo and Juliet", from "Kiss Me, Kate" to "The Merchant of Venice". In September 2004 he won 2 Primetime Emmys for hid HBO/BBC production "Elaine Stritch at Liberty". Iambic Productions Ltd thrived under Hunt's management, specialising in programmes for the international market and as a result achieving margins almost unheard-of in the independent television sector. In its final year of independence (to 31 March 2000) Iambic's turnover was 1,150,329, generating post-tax profits of 257,717. Hunt became well-known in the co-production marketplace, concluding deals with numerous foreign broadcasters, distributors and home video labels, and his business acumen became as remarked-upon as his production skills. He joined the executive board of the International Music Zentrum, the trade association of those working in music and the media (such as opera houses, record labels, broadcasters and producers). In 1999 Chris Hunt founded the online broadcaster Online Classics plc, to stream performing arts on video over the internet. The company floated on the AIM in December of that year, and launched its website in January 2000, with Hunt as Chairman and Chief Executive. The main proposition behind the company was that many people globally find it difficult to experience the performing arts on video or television, and would pay for the chance to view a large, top- quality library of such programming, available on demand streamed on the internet via broadband. It proved ahead of its time, though in 2003 and 2004 is beginning to demonstrate the efficacy of its proposition. Profile
TWST: Can you start with an overview of Digital Classics and how you see

the company today?

Mr. Hunt: Digital Classics is a media company that trades in program

rights, particularly in the