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BBCWW, Anton launch drama fund

James Norton in McMafia

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) and European film and TV outfit Anton are launching a £150m (US$190m) drama investment partnership that will greenlight premium UK scripted series with international potential.

The Drama Investment Partnership (DIP) will offer funding for investment in UK dramas over the next three years, with an aim to increase the flow of projects from British production companies by providing readily accessible capital at the point of commission.

BBCWW claims the “speed and simplicity” of the system will “provide a differentiation in the highly competitive market for premium scripted series.” It added that forthcoming crime epic McMafia was an example of the sort of project that could receive investment, with returnable shows in demand.

The UK pubcaster’s commercial arm will identify projects for development and investment, and take on global marketing and distribution of titles financed by the DIP.

The partnership is structured as an exclusive co-financing relationship with Anton, with both parties providing investment funding. Anton, which was founded by Sébastien Raybaud, has previously supported movies including Shaun the Sheep, Legend, Paddington and Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy.

Tim Davie

Tim Davie, CEO at BBCWW, said the partnership was designed to “actively bring new funding opportunities to the market, consistent with our history of pioneering financing and partnership deals.

“We are delighted to welcome Anton as our partner for the Drama Investment Partnership, and are confident the new funds will unlock greater opportunities for content makers and commissioners to ensure the very best of British drama continues to be made for audiences across the world.”

Anton CEO Raybaud added: “In a market flooded with content, it has become critical to stand out. This is why we are backing BBC Worldwide’s strategy to target ambitious high-end drama. With its brand, reach and commitment to high-quality content, BBC Worldwide is well positioned to offer talent an attractive home for large-budget series.”

BBCWW has been ramping up its investments in drama over recent months, increasing its stake in War & Peace prodco Lookout Point and backing the production firm launched by Peter Fincham and Tim Hincks.

It also linked with Danny Cohen’s Access Entertainment and UK prodco Lookout Point earlier this year to launch Benchmark Television, which aims to adopt a straight-to-series finance model for global scripted TV series.

They join numerous financing schemes that have been launched over recent months targeting scripted product, including Sir Howard Stringer’s SVoD-focused Atrium TV.

Earlier this month C21 also revealed that London-based financier Stone Story Media was in talks with a number of European and global media companies about an initiative that will allow institutional investors to put up to US$1bn into slates of content.

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