Channel 4 invests in Green Bay

17th December 2006

The Minister, as keynote speaker, publicly announced an initiative which will lead to more people throughout the UK watching television shows produced in Wales, thanks to an investment of £225,000 from Channel 4 and the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) in two of Wales' most ambitious television production companies.

Channel 4 and the WDA have joined forces to help dynamic Cardiff-based television production companies, Boomerang and Green Bay, to grow and break into new markets. The companies, which make programmes for Wales-based and UK-wide broadcasters, will not only receive financial support through the partnership deal but will also benefit from a closer working relationship with commissioning editors at Channel 4.

As part of its 'Creative Cities' strategy, Channel 4 committed a total package of cash and in-kind support worth £125,000 to the companies. The funding was subject to the companies attracting further funding from other agencies, which led to an additional £100,000 commitment from the Welsh Development Agency. The companies will also invest a considerable amount of their own money in their development.

Green Bay, set up by two former BBC senior executives four years ago, already has an award-winning reputation in drama, documentary and arts-based programming. The company has set its sights on rapid growth and recently secured £300,000 venture capital investment from Finance Wales. Channel 4 is particularly interested in securing science-based programmes from Green Bay as the company has specialist expertise in this area.

The package of support will enable Boomerang and Green Bay to appoint new staff who can wholly concentrate on developing and pitching programme ideas to a level where they can be professionally pitched to broadcasters. When commissions are secured, the companies will be able to employ more talent from Wales or attract new talent to the area to work on the productions.

Creative Cities is Channel 4's collective name for its ambitious programme of activities throughout the regional cities of the UK which is designed to increase the broadcaster's contribution to the development of creative businesses. Partnerships are a key part of the Creative Cities strategy to lever further funding for the independent production community.

The evening reception, held at the Park Plaza, was attended by people from throughout the television industry who have welcomed this move to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the Welsh independent television production sector.

Channel 4's champion of the 'Creative Cities' strategy and Director of Nations and Regions, Stuart Cosgrove, said:
"Channel 4 would like to support Boomerang and Green Bay's growth as we believe both companies are in a strong position to make compelling TV for a UK and international audience. They also have the skills required to secure returning series, which is a key factor in building capacity and creating job opportunities in Wales. We welcome WDA's entrepreneurialism in joining us in backing these dynamic and innovative companies."

Economic Minister, Andrew Davies, said: "Whilst Wales has always been a very creative country, we have not been very successful in retaining that creative talent, too often allowing that talent to leave in a way that has benefited other economies at our expense.

"It is within this context that I launched the Creative Industry Strategy last November, to help us to create, retain and benefit from the substantial level of creative talent that abounds in Wales.

"However, our support for the creative industries does not begin and end with the launch of this innovative strategy, and I am committed to creating an environment in which highly skilled and knowledge sectors like the creative industries can succeed and win for Wales.

"I am therefore delighted that we have been able to support this new partnership, which will enable some of our world class independent production companies to take greater advantage of the commercial opportunities available from UK broadcasting companies."

Director of the Welsh Development Agency, Patrick Sullivan, added:

"We are delighted to work in partnership with Channel 4 to develop the creative industries in Wales, through their Creative Cities project. This project brings significant growth and impact opportunities to two of the leading Welsh based independent production companies. Their development will create a stronger and more vibrant environment to provide the platform for further independent companies to follow in their wake. We wish Green Bay and Boomerang well as they develop - their success will have great economic benefits to Wales."

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