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BBC unveils new package of measures to help support small British indies

Fri 10th Jan 2020

The BBC has unveiled a new package of support for small and emerging indies (with turnovers of less than £10m per annum) designed to help boost the strength of UK production in the context of global competition and producer consolidation. The initiatives will have a strong focus on diverse and out-of-London producers.

The BBC has a clear role in supporting the UK creative economy, and believes that small independent producers play a vital role in creating the next generation of on and off screen talent, whilst producing programmes with a rich range of stories and perspectives across all four Nations. The BBC already commissions significantly more small producers than any other broadcaster and wants to sustain plurality of supply and support innovation in all its forms. This is a strategic priority for the BBC and these measures are designed to enhance support for small UK companies who have brilliant British stories to tell, and don’t have the support of big international corporate groups.

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, says: "We've listened to the sector and understand the pressures small indies face in this fast changing global landscape. Small indies are a vital part of the UK's creative industry and crucially deliver content that speaks to British audiences. We recognise how valuable they are to the ecology and this additional support will enable them to compete more effectively."

The measures announced today are:

Ring-fencing £1m of development spend in a Small Indie Fund to support small and emerging companies

We will identify talented small indies who can deliver to our strategy, and tailor support packages to help them grow.

For those indies that show real promise we will fast-track them with a commissioning mentor, development deal, and targeted commissioning opportunities.

Commissioners responsible for out of London will have priority access to this funding to stimulate and strengthen ideas and new talent across the UK, forging closer creative relationships. Production companies with diverse leadership will also be prioritised for support.

Offering bespoke deal arrangements, shaped to match company need. These will vary depending on the risk profile of the genre, company and the show, but could include:

Tailored cash flow terms, to help companies when they most need it.

Shared risk arrangements agreed upfront, to support the uncertainties on more unpredictable productions.

Help to secure 3rd party investment, if required.

Tailored events to build stronger connections between emerging small companies and the BBC, including an event to introduce new companies to our commissioning teams and learn about how we work, as well as smaller gatherings to discuss specific issues.

These measures will apply to indies with a turnover of less than £10m per annum, and awarded on the strength of their creative potential, with the Small Indie Fund investment targeted towards new and the smallest companies, including a special focus on diverse, out of London, and qualifying independent producers.

The measures will be rolled out on a company by company basis, and producers are encouraged to speak to their network Commissioning and Business contacts if they think they would like to discuss support.