Government Reportedly Under Pressure to Create Top-up Fund for TV Production Companies

The Scottish Government is reported to be under pressure to create a £5 million top-up fund for television production companies, according to the Sunday Herald.

A story, on page 42 of yesterday's paper, by deputy business editor, Steven Vass, says a report by consultancy, New Media Partners, calls on the Government to set up a production finance incentive fund to help attract major network television and digital commissions into Scotland.

Writes Vass, who points out the report was commissioned by the Scottish Government: “Such funds are available in most other parts of the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Both independent Scottish producers and BBC Scotland believe these are luring commissions elsewhere, since they increase the budget on programmes and hence improve their quality.

“Although the report was produced several months ago, it has not yet been put into the public domain, prompting questions about whether the Government will act on its findings.”

Vass quotes the report as saying:”The Scottish industry feels disadvantaged through the lack of such a scheme, with anecdotal evidence of inward investment opportunities being lost to other nations and regions.

“Typically an investment of ten per cent to 25 per cent of the total budget would make a significant difference to the viability of a project …Based on that logic a fund of £5m invested over three years should enable production to the value of between £20 million to £50 million over that period.”

David Strachan, chief executive of Tern Television, is quoted as saying that the New Media Partners report was in line with recommendations made by a TV Working Group he chaired to look into the state of the industry last year.

Strachan is quoted as saying: “We also recommended that there ought to be company development finance of around the same size.

“So far we haven’t heard anything about that.”

Vass also quotes a spokesman for cultural quango, Creative Scotland, as explaining: “The TV Working Group, with a refreshed membership, will meet in November and this report and the progress to date will be a central element of the agenda.”

* The Herald & Times Group is advertising for a deputy group business editor/group business writer for its three main titles – The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

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