Companies announced for business support from FOCUS and MG ALBA

Five companies have been selected to receive business development support through a unique partnership between FOCUS and MG ALBA.

FOCUS announced the partnership with MG ALBA in July this year and BBC ALBA suppliers were invited to apply to receive free business support by submitting an application on the FOCUS website.

Following a competitive process, the five final companies selected to take part are Bees Nees Media, Caledonia TV Productions, Corcadal Productions, MacTV and Mast-Ard Studio.

A total of £10k has been allocated to provide fully-funded access to specialist commercial affairs support and mentoring. This will mean an opportunity for the companies to review their company’s contracts or intellectual property, and may involve setting up effective processes and workflows.

FOCUS is a two-year pilot project that provides expert sector specific business support to screen production companies working in Scotland. By investing in targeted, sector specific business support the project aims to create a stronger, more resilient screen sector, with companies well equipped to take advantage of the evolving opportunities for content creators in a changing market. FOCUS is delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute, and supported by Screen Scotland partners Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

In recent years, MG ALBA has negotiated new content for BBC ALBA through innovative international deals led by its suppliers. A series of agreements created £5.2m worth of high-quality programmes for Scotland’s Gaelic-language television channel.

Broadcast consultancy collective, The Televators, run by Kirstie McLure and Nikki Tilley, have been contracted to deliver business affairs support to the participating companies. The Televators will now start work with the five companies to help them take advantage of the evolving opportunities for content creators in an ever-changing market. The result may mean growing international networks and the possibilities of further business in other territories, as well as the domestic market.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy and Partnership, said: “Working closely with our suppliers and FOCUS means that we can further strengthen the internationalisation of the BBC ALBA supply sector. This strategy gives BBC ALBA access to great content but also enables our suppliers to build networks in other other markets that could benefit our sector economically. These co-production and co-finance agreements are crucial for stimulating growth and expanding our creative horizons.”

Rebecca Thompson, Business Development Manager, FOCUS, said: “Since FOCUS was established in 2017 we’ve worked closely with a range of companies operating within Scotland’s screen sector and seen first hand the impact that this kind of support can have. We’re thrilled to now be connecting this group of highly ambitious companies with the expertise they need to maximise international partnerships and growth.”

Jennifer Armitage, from Screen Scotland said:  “This is an excellent opportunity from FOCUS and MG ALBA to strengthen production companies working in Gaelic. The Televators will work with these five companies to identify areas for business growth and to develop their upcoming projects. This dedicated support for producers working in a minority language will help to showcase Scotland’s diversity to audiences both at home and internationally.”

Susan McColl, who leads on Screen at Scottish Enterprise said: “It is great to see the FOCUS project extending its reach so that more companies can benefit from the excellent sector specific business support available.  The new partnership with MG ALBA will enable the five companies announced today to work with The Televators to compete in the new content landscape and achieve success at home and internationally too. In addition this will support the Scottish media landscape and enhance Gaelic-language productions in turn supporting our heritage as well as the industry’s growth.”

Donald Macdonald, Operations Manager, MacTV, said: “The team at MacTV are delighted to be involved and very much welcome the opportunity provided by the Focus initiative to work with experienced industry specialists – we look forward to its collaborative nature supporting our business development strategy and our sustainability and growth aspirations.”

Christine Morrison, Producer, Corcadal Productions, said: "This is an invaluable opportunity for me, as a small business, to benefit from mentoring and advice from industry experts and I’m delighted to have been selected to take part.   Already I’ve been inspired and we have set targets with the aim of helping me to achieve growth for my business."

Find out more

For more information please visit https://www.filmcityfutures.com/mgalba.

Notes to editors

FOCUS is an initiative by Film City Futures, supported by Screen Scotland and Scottish Enterprise and the participating companies.  Screen businesses are not always able to access the business development expertise that they need in order to achieve significant growth. FOCUS seeks to change this, by providing screen sector companies with access to the sector-specific business development expertise that they need from experts in Production, Law, HR, book scouting, sales and distribution, and other areas.

The FOCUS application process has now closed. All applications were assessed according to the project’seligibility and selection criteria, and 20 companies will be supported over the course of the pilot.  For more information, criteria and guidelines please visit www.filmcityfutures.com

Since BBC ALBA went on-air on 19 September 2008, MG ALBA’s priority continues to be to run and to grow the channel in partnership with the BBC.

Teamwork and partnership are at the heart of what they do and along with their partners they strive to ensure that Gaelic is heard and used frequently and freely in the media and in Scotland’s social and cultural life. MG ALBA believe that learners and native speakers have immense talent and through initiatives such as FilmG and LearnGaelic.net they continue to encourage and create opportunities.

MG ALBA is funded by the Scottish Government and regulated by Ofcom. They are based in Stornoway with a presence in Inverness and Glasgow. Their promise is to inspire and encourage through Media and Gaelic. Visit their website: www.mgalba.com

Film City Futures’ mission is to connect people, space and opportunity, enabling access and entry to the screen industries for all - acting as a catalyst for participation, learning, and innovation. The organisation’s vision is to ensure Scotland’s continuing growth and evolution in the screen industries. Their current pilot project, FOCUS, is open to Scotland-based companies who want to grow and develop their business.

Scottish Documentary Institute has produced over a hundred films, screening in sixty countries worldwide, garnering international recognition as being at the cutting edge of the documentary sector. Bridging art and industry, SDI is committed to supporting authored films driven by content and emotional experience.  SDI comprises two entities, SDI Outreach and SDI Productions. SDI Outreach is a non-profit organisation, delivering a ladder of development opportunities to benefit all Scottish filmmakers and producers, in addition to running Scottish delegations, in collaboration with Creative Scotland.  www.scottishdocinstitute.com

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment. www.scottish-enterprise.com

Screen Scotland is leading the growth of the sector through increased funding and support for film and television production, an increase in specialist staff and further investment in skills, festivals, audiences and education. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, with funding from the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.