S4C puts up £8 million for docs

S4C International, commercial arm of Welsh pubcaster S4C, is bent on
November 1, 2001

S4C International, commercial arm of Welsh pubcaster S4C, is bent on
becoming a heavyweight in the world of international doc copros. It now has the financial muscle to do so. S4C’s commercial and broadcast divisions have pooled resources to operate an £8 million (US$11.7 million) Factual Strategy Group for at least the next five years.

Huw Walters, head of copros for S4C International and the Factual Strategy Group, explains the initiative: ‘Commercial income plays an important part in funding S4C’s program budget. We’re looking to grow that income so our program budget grows as well. One of the solutions we’ve identified is to create a catalog with a commercial value that not only works in the S4C schedule, but can be sold overseas and earn a return for the channel and its partners.’

S4C has issued a tender to a select group of about 50 prodcos, mostly in England, Wales and Ireland. The Group is looking for series of at least three to four one-hour episodes, with a budget between us$150,000 to $300,000 per hour. S4C is seeking a range of international partners and will, therefore, favor genres with proven global appeal. Notes Walters, ‘Big historic stories are often of interest across borders and the same is true, to an extent, for science and technology.’ He hopes to have at least 20 hours on the initial slate, with production beginning in early 2002.

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