Peter Hitchen, one of London’s most prominent entertainment bankers, is leaving his current post at Barclays Bank to launch his own production financing company, Media Affiliates Ltd.
He plans to provide deficit financing for feature film, TV and multimedia projects and to offer strategic consulting services to production companies.
Hitchen has raised a fund from a number of private backers that he plans to invest principally in production, rather than to take equity stakes in production companies.
But he does not rule out making corporate investments in the longer term and is seeking some form of linkup with an international TV distribution company, which will likely involve taking an equity stake.
Hitchen is currently business center director at Barclays Soho Square branch, where a large proportion of London’s TV producers, film producers, facilities houses and advertising agencies have their corporate bank accounts.
He has been there for six years, in which time the media business has become the branch’s principal specialty. When he leaves at the end of September, his position will be taken over by Terry Hancock.
Media Affiliates will focus mostly on TV programming with international potential – which means drama, children’s, wildlife and some factual shows. He will also consider investing in small-scale feature films.
Hitchen says he will not confine himself to investing in British projects – “although as a British company run by a Brit based in London, the bulk is inevitably going to be U.K.-based,” he says.
“There is a hunger amongst a growing number of producers to be more entrepreneurial, but what they need is help, advice, money,” Hitchen says.
Increasingly, British TV webs will not provide 100% financing for production, which gives producers the opportunity, if they can raise some money themselves, to retain some of the rights to their own shows.
“I see myself as a conduit between the production community and the financial community,” Hitchen explains.