A Tall Order Limited
As managing director of UK-based distributor A Tall Order Limited, Martin facilitates syndication of long form programming to in-flight entertainment for an ever-growing list of clients including Bloomberg Media, Bloomberg TV Africa and renowned journalist Riz Khan.
How do you view the airline industry as a marketplace for your content? What are its benefits?
As in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems continue to become more sophisticated, with ever-increasing capacity, it will, in my opinion, become more important to offer an experience similar to what passengers expect to achieve at home. Of course that brings pressure to bear on airlines but I also feel strongly that there’s pressure on distributors to be more helpful in ensuring that the IFE experience is a positive one.
Yes, we do need to share our catalog with content buyers but it is as important to recognize the limited time those buyers have and give some insight as to what may fit a particular airline. The best analogy I can think of is the relationship a customer has with a personal shopper in a huge department store.
I should add that from my perspective as a passenger, I do consider the quality of in-flight entertainment when choosing which airline to fly with.
It’s one of the easiest ways to measure one carrier against another, particularly if ticket prices are similar. Even though I travel frequently, I still consider flying a luxurious experience so I tend to latch on to those airlines that reinforce that feeling.
How do you waste time at work?
I am a sucker for reading all e-mails, particularly newsletters, which sounds productive but sometimes it can be an easy way to avoid doing those tasks that we all would rather not do. I must be every junk-mail marketer’s dream. Saying that, because I travel so much, my time in the office is extremely valuable so I do endeavor to keep time-wasting at a minimum; that means the highest level of spam filtering on my work e-mail accounts, and careful time management that includes the occasional chunk of time for flicking through newsletters.
What’s the most efficient way to pack a carry-on suitcase?
Generally my carry-on consists of work-related stuff, however, I definitely subscribe to a “less is more” strategy. Laptop, tablet, mobile phone, passport, notebook, a book and The Week magazine is about as sophisticated as it gets, unless I’m traveling with my family in which case the most efficient way to pack is to simply accept instructions from Mrs. Henlan!
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had during a flight?
Hard to pick a single meal but I do have extremely fond memories of my first transatlantic experience in 1984 on British Airways. I was off to the US as a foreign-exchange student, on my own and scared witless of what was going to happen to me across The Big Pond.
I am sure that I’ve had far better meals since then, but I felt thoroughly spoiled by the crew, all capped off when they served scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam for afternoon tea.
Now, there may well have been nothing special about those scones but to an impressionable 18-year-old it was considered my first experience of fine dining! Even to this day, that experience and how it made me feel is the benchmark against which I measure the in-flight service I receive.
Default drink of choice?
I’m a huge tea drinker, but a fussy one, so when I travel my biggest complaint is dodgy tea – especially in flight. I gave up complaining about it years ago so, except on particular airlines, it will be water (sparkling) or wine.
Your top three films of all time?
Parenthood – in the days of VHS I used to pop this movie on as I settled down for my pre-game nap. It was part of that routine for all home games. Now that I have a family of my own, there are so many scenes from this movie that I can identify with and it still gets watched a number of times each year.
Toy Story 3 – but you have to watch the first two as well. I cry my eyes out every time…
Do the Right Thing – for me this is the ultimate Spike Lee joint! He may have made more critically acclaimed movies but I love everything about this one.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
I can honestly say that I don’t have the foggiest idea! I imagine I’d like someone who could identify with my “roots,” that is, deepest Birmingham. I am a proud Brummie, so the best candidate for that would probably be Lenny Henry.
The game you’re best at?
Basketball. I played professionally in Europe for 15 years, although nowadays I can barely jump over a sheet of paper. Mind you, growing up I dreamed of opening the bowling for England. Cricket was my first love and I still have a passion for the game but when basketball found me, my dreams of playing at Lord’s were replaced with aspirations of playing against or with Magic Johnson.
The person you can imitate?
Multiple bosses (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons).