David Lyle Outlines Vision for PactUS


NEW YORK: David Lyle, the president of PactUS, discusses the plans for the recently established American organization dedicated to supporting the local production community.

After operating successfully in the U.K. for more than a decade, Pact has decided to head Stateside. PactUS launched this summer, providing an association for U.S. TV and content producers to represent the full range of their commercial interests.

The organization brought in David Lyle, most recently the CEO of National Geographic Channel, to serve as president. Lyle is currently working to establish offices in Los Angeles and New York, hiring staff and finding business and legal representatives to provide free information and advice to PactUS’s growing membership base.

While PactUS is certainly an outgrowth of Pact in the U.K., Lyle is keen to point out that it is “very much its own American organization—looking at domestic issues, challenges, successes, strategies and priorities for the American production community.”

Lyle believes that the time is right for an organization like PactUS to enter the marketplace. “Everyone would agree that it’s a disruptive time of rapid and unpredictable change [in the media business],” he says. “Producers across all genres (scripted and non-scripted) and all platforms (from MCNs and SVODs to OTT through to broadcast TV) are all wondering what’s happening.”

He says that with producers being so busy trying to keep pace with the day-to-day happenings, there’s not always an opportunity to “look over the horizon, to look at the content ecosystem in a calm way to evaluate what’s coming. People need to be able to see the challenges and opportunities ahead and how different efficiencies are implemented. Hence an organization that can work with producers to help them better prepare for what’s over the horizon.”

The aim of PactUS is to articulate a vision and a voice for the U.S. production community, as well as express the value of the production sector in the wider international TV landscape. Some of its initiatives include exploring best practices to develop new production efficiencies and opportunities that benefit both producers and buyers; supplying legal and business-affairs information on pressing topics; and securing better exploitation of intellectual property rights. Other areas of assistance include guides for better contract templates, information on state tax rebates and insurance issues and assistance with employment and healthcare matters.

With his background in worldwide TV production, distribution, acquisitions and programming, Lyle believes he has the right mix of experience to really benefit PactUS and its members. “I’ve always been a player in this market, but an observer too,” he says. “I have been a stand in the field as a producer, and I have run cable channels. I do realize what goes on behind closed doors in buyers’ worlds. And while Pact has to be a great body for the producers first, we also have to help the buyers understand the producers and the producers understand the buyers and look for mutual efficiencies.”