Net to raise coin for 'Daughters'

SYDNEY — Oz terrestrial heavyweight the Nine Network has taken a leaf from the film financing book by targeting private investors to raise coin for popular drama “McLeod’s Daughters.”

In a first of its kind for an Oz TV drama, Nine will raise A$15.5 million ($11.9 million) to fund the new season via a private investment venture. Plan targets high-end investors and carries a minimum investment of $75,000.

“Drama costs are going up, and we had to look at a way to ensure the long-term future of ‘McLeod’s,’ ” said a Nine spokesman. “We can’t take advantage of the 10B (Australian tax scheme) because we are a company, but this way other investors can.”

Under Oz tax law, investors will receive a 50% deduction at the end of the 2004-05 tax year (June 30) and a similar deduction in 2005-06.

Participants must be able to invest $380,000, have net assets of at least $1.9 million and have had an annual income of more than $190,000 for the past two years.

Nine’s scheme promises investors a 106% return after seven years on an initial $75,000. This is achieved through distrib guarantees on overseas territories and through Nine’s own license fee to investors.

Previous seasons of “McLeod’s Daughters” were funded by the Macquarie Nine Film and Television Fund run by Macquarie Bank. But net believes taking the drama series out on its own is a safer option for investors.

Scheme has drawn more than 40 inquiries, and previous investors from the Macquarie Nine Fund have chipped in coin.

“McLeod’s Daughters,” in its fifth season, is about four women running a sheep farm in the Oz outback.

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