Up-and-comers: Patrick Yee, Sky

We’ve given the mic to the industry’s future leaders. Peter Yee, a business manager at Sky, shares his thoughts on New Zealand’s media.

How did you get into TV? What sparked your interest in getting into the industry? 

Majoring in Film, Television and Media Studies, I got a taste of analysing TV practices and audiences while studying at university. From live sport to scripted fantasy shows about kings and dragons, I had always enjoyed watching television over the years and it is an industry that has a strong influence over shaping our society. My passion towards it grew and when the opportunity came up to be a part of it, I couldn’t pass it up.

Can you explain your career path so far? 

I started out with a brief stint as a marketing assistant at a start-up talent analytics company where I learned the basics of sales and marketing. My first role here at Sky Advertising was as a sales coordinator and I have since been promoted to business manager.

Being a much larger company, Sky came with a new set of challenges but also more opportunities to learn and grow. There is a multitude of paths your career can go down and you can move around until you find what suits your own skills and interests. Enthusiasm and hard work have been key ingredients to a satisfying career so far.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role? 

Given the breadth of content that we have, it is sometimes difficult to stay on top of it all! At first, it was tough to step outside of my own personal taste in television and put myself in the shoes of the various audience demographics that we are trying to reach.

What’s the best part of working in the TV industry? 

TV plays an important role in our society – it has the responsibility to educate and entertain us. Through the stories we see on the screen, we connect with others and create a sense of what it means to be human.

We see our sporting heroes whom we aspire to become and unwind with our favourite comedies. We watch TV to hear the stories that are important to us and being a part of bringing those stories to New Zealand is quite fulfilling.

Being able to pull back the curtain and see some of the creation of the content is pretty rewarding to the fan inside me – I managed to get a photo on the Crowd Goes Wild set when I first started here.

TV has faced headlines such as ‘TV is Dying’ – what are your thoughts about these criticisms?

People with Sky watched over three hours a day on average last month – sounds like TV is still alive! A more accurate headline would be that “TV is Evolving” because we simply don’t watch it the way that we used to. Viewing behaviours are changing and we now expect more access to content than ever before. We want agency over what we watch and how we watch it.

Want to watch every episode of Ray Donovan this week? Binge away! Long bus ride home? Sink into an episode of Barry on Neon. All access, all the time. We have to respond to these shifting expectations in order to stay relevant. Dying? No, TV is just adapting to a new generation of storytelling and viewing practices.

What’s your advice you would give to those entering the industry? 

TV is a unique space to work in – it is a fast-paced medium that reaches a vast number of people. Everyday conversations centre on yesterday’s rugby match or the latest dramatic cliff-hanger. We create our identities through our passions and I’ve always felt that it is more satisfying to work in TV when you enjoy TV yourself.

The media landscape is changing with new technological capabilities which means that the TV industry is in transition, so we need to be open to new ideas and ways of operating. We need fresh perspectives to challenge the status quo to stay at the forefront of the new media-driven world.

This piece originally appeared in the 2019 Media Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. Subscribe here.

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