Barclays Corporate Banking has announced a doubling of its SVOD (subscription video on demand) fund to support UK TV producers.
The £100m fund was launched in March 2017 in response to the rapidly evolving TV production landscape, with the rise of subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video changing the way that original programming is financed.
Conventional TV production loans are usually repaid as the content is delivered with the broadcaster paying the production company and funder simultaneously. With SVOD, payment from the subscription service is often spread over a much longer term, which can present funding challenges.
The Barclays SVOD Financing fund allows companies to borrow over a longer period, helping them develop more ideas and new programming, with both the producers and SVOD distributors benefitting from being able to manage their cashflow more efficiently.
The decision to double the fund ahead of schedule is the result of exceptional demand, with more than £100m already provided to production companies by Barclays in the 18 months the fund has been active. Projects to have benefitted from Barclays support include £17.5m to Drama Republic for the BBC/Netflix co-production Black Earth Rising, financing to Lime Pictures for the Netflix show Free Rein, and funding for a series of Octonauts specials for Silvergate Media.
Lorraine Ruckstuhl, Head of Media at Barclays Corporate Banking, said:
“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.”
A range of funding products are available from Barclays to support UK TV production, from simple individual project based loans, to receivable purchases and wider multi-project funding facilities for larger production companies.
Denis Wray, Financial Controller at Drama Republic, commented:
“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.”