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Barclays Sets Up $125M Fund for Shows on Streaming Platforms

Variety logo Variety 3/28/2017 Leo Barraclough
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British bank Barclays has launched a £100 million ($125 million) fund to help TV production companies compete for orders from video-streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon.

The rise in popularity of subscription video-on-demand services prompted Barclays to consider “how it could improve the types of funding provided to better support its TV clients,” according to a statement. “Conventional TV production loans are repaid as the content is delivered with the broadcaster paying the production company and funder simultaneously. With SVOD, revenues are often spread over a much longer term, which can present funding challenges.”

Barclays has adapted its loan structures to “more closely match the funding requirements of companies working with SVOD distributors,” the company said. “The product allows these companies to borrow money over a longer period, enabling them to use the funds to develop more ideas and programs, which in turn supports more sustained employment and helps them to grow more quickly.”

Lorraine Ruckstuhl, head of media at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “We’ve been supporting TV production with a dedicated media team for over 30 years, and know that to meet the needs of our clients we have to adapt with them and with the viewing habits of the public. That’s why we created this fund and developed Barclays SVOD Financing, to help U.K. SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] continue to compete both in the U.K. and internationally, support increased employment, and create even more great programs.”

One of the first companies to benefit from the new fund is Roughcut Television, which has produced comedy shows such as BAFTA-nominated “Cuckoo,” “Trollied” and “People Just Do Nothing.” The new funding through Barclays “involved the bank purchasing Roughcut’s Netflix receivable, giving the company the upfront cash benefit” of the multi-year contract for the streaming of “Cuckoo.”

“Netflix [is] notorious for paying over a long period,” Roughcut’s commercial director Tim Sealey said. “Our arrangement with Barclays enabled us to get access to the cash much earlier, which meant that we could put it to work by investing in further development. Another side benefit is that it improves our relationship with the writers and artists as they get their royalties quicker, too.”

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