Last year, the British bank launched a £100M (US$130M) fund to address cashflow problems faced by British producers as they win business from the digital platforms. They have now doubled this fund to £200M (US$260M).
British broadcasters generally cashflow productions at the point of commission, although different networks offer different terms and arrangements, whereas the likes of Netflix and Amazon pay on delivery, which can make it harder for smaller companies to afford to do business with them.
Since the financial scheme was set up, Barclays has supported indies such as Drama Republic, which received £17.5M (US$23M) for its BBC/Netflix co-pro Black Earth Rising and Lime Pictures, which was helped on teen horse drama Free Rein.
Denis Wray, Financial Controller at Drama Republic, said, “Barclays understands the financial challenges associated with high-end drama production financed in large part by an SVOD licence. For Black Earth Rising, the borrowing profile was steep and the repayment tail was longer than the UK industry was used to. As partners, Barclays are supportive of their producers, aware of the risks and challenges that we navigate on a daily basis, knowledgeable, ready to listen and available to help when required.”
Lorraine Ruckstuhl, Head of Media at Barclays Corporate Banking, added: “We’re seeing more and more SVOD activity and an increasing need for tailored financing that meets the specific needs of both the production company and the subscription service. With more SVOD platforms on the way and a growing focus on original content, demand is set to increase further and finance providers will have to keep innovating to meet changing funding requirements. We’re demonstrating our commitment to help the UK’s production companies make more world-class programming by doubling our SVOD fund and will also develop new financing options for the sector as the industry continues to evolve.”