Executive producer Michael McKay should know his way around the Sydney Carols In The Domain event after having first worked on it in 1988.
“I started activeTV on a Friday in 1988 and I was having lunch with a TV executive called Ian Duncan on the Monday. I pitched him the Carols event and Seven picked it up.
“That was a really nice start to what was a brand new company. Seven has been broadcasting it ever since.”
McKay told Mediaweek the founder of Carols In The Domain is Robyn Hobbs, who started the event in 1981 as Sydney at the time didn’t have a major Christmas Carols event like Melbourne or Adelaide.
“Because it started to get too big for a private individual to run, Carols asked us if we wanted to take it over and since then we have run the entire event.”
That means managing everything, not just the broadcast. ActiveTV even looks after sponsorships, managing them in-house.
“We have tried using an agency to manage that, but we find it needs the passion that people running an event have and the best person to sell that type of show has been us.”
This year Woolworths is involved for the 12th year while other partners include Disney, Coca Cola, Cadbury and Holden.
ActiveTV has a dedicated digital team working on the event who focus on digital content and social media.
Because Carols In The Domain is a free event, the most crucial part of the business plan is to secure the sponsors.
The other main challenge is something the organisers have no control over – the weather.