Scots TV quartet hoping to strike more foreign deals

FOUR Scottish independent TV production companies are being offered the chance to make more overseas contacts, with the hope of striking more co-production agreements with foreign counterparts.

The companies – Tern Television, Finestripe, MnE Media and Synchronicity Films – are among nine throughout the UK and Ireland to be given places on an international development programme being run by The Research Centre (TRC) – a Glasgow and Manchester-based independent charity launched in 1998 to provide training and industry-related events for the TV industry, partly funded by Channel 4.

The programme, now in its third year, is designed to provide bespoke assistance to independent production companies to develop their knowledge and help make industry contacts in the overseas TV market – particularly North America.

As a result of the last programme’s “successful foray” to the west coast of the USA, this year’s group will also be heading to Hollywood, on top of more established routes to New York, Washington DC and Toronto, Canada, meeting key broadcasters, co-production partners and ‘related strategic players’.

In addition to the North American component, TRC provide informative monthly sessions in which delegates can listen to industry experts speak on rights exploitation, co-productions, distribution and pitching to the top five international territories.

Says David Strachan, managing director of Tern Television – behind Great British Journeys for BBC Two: “The North American market is a tough nut to crack, so we are hoping that the experience will offer the exposure Tern needs in order to break this market. Tern is at a key point in its development and TRC have supported us every step of the way. We are sure this programme will further fuel our international ambitions.”

Adds Agnes Wilkie, who heads up the programme: “With so much overseas interest in original British formats, we are helping UK indies capitalise on this, giving these companies all-important global exposure. The programme affords them the crucial opportunities in these traditionally hard-to-break markets. This is now the third year of the programme and each year we know it is getting better and better.”