Media release: Boost for BBC ALBA suppliers through fully-funded business support opportunity

Up to five BBC ALBA suppliers to access fully-funded support

Up to £15k of support to be made available

Support helps companies build on innovative international co-production approach

FOCUS and MG ALBA have today announced that they are working together to offer five suppliers the opportunity to access fully-funded commercial affairs support and mentoring from industry experts.

FOCUS is a two-year business development pilot project delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute and supported by Screen Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

By investing in targeted, sector specific business support, the project aims to create a stronger, more resilient screen sector, with companies better equipped to take advantage of the evolving opportunities for content creators in a changing market.

The partnership between MG ALBA and FOCUS will give the channel’s suppliers access to targeted business support which will allow them to maximise the international partnerships which are key to both their growth and to ensuring high value content for BBC ALBA.

Last year, MG ALBA announced a series of domestic and international agreements amounting to £5.2m for high-quality programmes for Scotland’s Gaelic-language television channel, highlighting the increasing role of domestic and international co-production for the channel and its suppliers.

A total of £15k is allocated to the partnership, including £10k of consultancy costs, as well as overheads, with the cost of all support shared equally three ways between Screen Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and MG ALBA.

Each participating company will be able to access up to £3k of support. This will take the form of one-to-one corporate affairs mentoring and advice from specialist consultants, The Televators – a collective of TV consultants headed by Kirstie McLure and Nikki Tilley.

The company covers areas of strategic planning, growth, co-production, budgeting and funding and has an extensive global network.

Consultancy will be tailored to the needs of the company, and might include a review of contracts and processes, IP audits, and setting up effective processes and workflows.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA’s director of Strategy and Partnership, said: “Giving our production companies the opportunity to build on our existing co-production and co-finance strategy will help to economically strengthen our sector and in turn lead to great content for BBC ALBA. In developing the business affairs capacity of our production partners, they’ll have the tools to grow and expand and our BBC ALBA audience and the Gaelic-speaking workforce can only benefit from this.”

Rebecca Thompson, Business Development manager, FOCUS, said: “The first cohort of twenty FOCUS companies are already demonstrating that focused, sector specific business development support can significantly impact company growth and ambition in the screen sector. We are delighted to be working with MG ALBA and The Televators to support BBC ALBA suppliers to achieve their company ambitions and widen the impact of the programme.”

Kirstie McLure, from The Televators, said: “The Televators are delighted to be collaborating with MG ALBA and FOCUS in this exciting initiative. We aim to create a bridge between the excellent creative skills of BBC ALBA suppliers and the broader international community by extending co-production partnerships. Great content and strong relationships are key to business growth and we are delighted to be involved in this model building firm foundations for Scottish and international collaborations in the future.”

Ben Taylor, from Screen Scotland, said: “FOCUS is an excellent example of Screen Scotland’s drive to support growth in Scotland’s Screen sector. FOCUS has proven to be extremely useful programme and we hope that BBC ALBA suppliers will be able to take the next step towards realising their growth ambitions and increasing content production in Scotland.”

Susan McColl, who leads on screen at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The FOCUS partnership, which spans the public and private sectors, is already proving an effective model for supporting Scotland’s growing screen sector. We are confident this new partnership with MG ALBA will build on that success as well as giving more companies the opportunity to access expert support and achieve company growth.”

The opportunity is available to Scotland-based production companies with previous Gaelic content broadcast credits and a desire for growth. The deadline for applications is Friday 23rd August.

Full guidelines and an online application form are available on the FOCUS website:


Notes for editors:

Media contact: Rebecca Thompson, Business Development manager, FOCUS:


T: (+44) 07866 730612

1. About FOCUS

FOCUS is a pilot initiative delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute, and supported by Screen Scotland partners Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise as well as 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.

Twenty companies were selected to take part in the pilot, accessing bespoke one to one support for their company. Additionally, over 100 companies access support through a series of free events and through FOCUS BITES – bite-sized taster consultancies.

2. About MG ALBA

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 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:

3. About The Televators

The Televators is a collective of TV consultants headed by Kirstie McLure and Nikki Tilley.

The company covers areas of strategic planning, growth, co-production, budgeting and funding and has an extensive global network.

The business provides interim support, budget management, operational staff recruitment and financial and business-affairs services to a range of clients, from individual creatives to mid-size indies, helping them to manage budgets, staffing, production planning and demanding broadcast clients.

Visit their website:

4. About the partners

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 100 films, screening in 60 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.

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.

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.

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FOCUS contact details…

Contact: Rebecca Thompson