Memorandum submitted by Left Bank Pictures
I am the Chief Executive of Left Bank Pictures, a company which makes both feature films and television drama. We launched the company in July 1 2007. BBC Worldwide took a 25% stake in the company for £1 million. In exchange, BBC Worldwide have a senior representative on our board and have a first look to distribute all of our programming output for the next 5 years.
Left Bank Pictures was set up to produce quality top end
dramas and comedy series for the
1. Why did we go with BBC Worldwide?
I had several offers from a range of different sorts of
potential investors. I met with a wide variety of media tycoons, from Martin
Sorrell and Richard Branson to many
It was clear to me that a programme
distributor was the most suitable and preferably a
2. What did BBC Worldwide offer?
The £1 million investment guaranteed that the company would be solvent for at least a year. The money was just sufficient to launch a team of 7 people (myself included) with office, overheads and development spend. Worldwide also provide brilliant support. The executive team at Worldwide are terrific. John Smith, Wayne Garvie and Helen Jackson have helped us enormously. We work very closely together and plan productions and the recoupment strategy very carefully. The BBC team combine their selling expertise and worldwide contacts with our considerable production experience. It's perfect. Raising money for co-productions is one of the most important parts of the business these days. Production companies like ours need a real dialogue and support in order to close the complex deals involved. The numbers are big. Today's international TV budgets are frequently bigger than movies. Wallander, for example, cost a total of £7.5 million for 3 films.
3. How have we get on?
4. Would we have achieved this without Worldwide's investment and support?
I very much doubt it. Worldwide's
deal was simple - the proposition was clear - the partnership works effectively
and without fuss. Worldwide is getting a brand new supply of TV shows to feed
their international markets and we are successfully selling shows in both the
5. Why is BBC Worldwide's investment in indie production companies a good thing?
In our case their investment ensured that my company stayed British owned and within the wider firmament of the BBC. The first look deal does NOT help me to secure any commissions with the BBC but being a part of the wider world of the BBC is both helpful and is delivering real value to all areas of the corporation.
6. Was it a risky investment?
I am obviously biased but I would say no - and 18 months
into the life of the new company the figures speak for themselves. I think
Worldwide are very clever. They know what they are doing and they are doing it very
well. It is clear that some of their opponents are jealous. Worldwide is an
easy target as people misunderstand where their money comes from and what their
commercial targets are. A strong, successful and independent BBC Worldwide is a
very good thing for the BBC and for the
BBC Worldwide are growing their business by being
committed and being supportive to small but important and growing