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Barclays Doubles Fund for Streaming Content to $256 Million

Barclays Corporate Banking has announced a doubling to £200 million ($256 million) of its fund to help British TV producers develop content for streaming services.

The £100 million ($128 million) fund was launched in March 2017 in “response to the rapidly evolving TV production landscape,” according to a statement, with the rise of subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video “changing the way that original programming is financed.”

Conventional TV production loans are usually repaid as the content is delivered, with the broadcaster paying the production company and funder simultaneously. With SVOD, payment from the subscription service is often spread over a much longer term, which can present funding challenges, the bank said.

Projects that have benefited from Barclays support include £17.5 million ($22.4 million) to Drama Republic for the BBC/Netflix co-production “Black Earth Rising,” financing to Lime Pictures for the Netflix show “Free Rein,” and funding for a series of “Octonauts” specials for Silvergate Media.

Denis Wray, financial controller at Drama Republic, said: “Barclays understands the financial challenges associated with high-end drama production financed in large part by an SVOD license. For ‘Black Earth Rising,’ the borrowing profile was steep and the repayment tail was longer than the U.K. industry was used to. As partners, Barclays are supportive of their producers, aware of the risks and challenges that we navigate on a daily basis, knowledgeable, ready to listen, and available to help when required.”

“We’re seeing more and more SVOD activity and an increasing need for tailored financing that meets the specific needs of both the production company and the subscription service,” said Lorraine Ruckstuhl, head of media at Barclays Corporate Banking. “With more SVOD platforms on the way and a growing focus on original content, demand is set to increase further, and finance providers will have to keep innovating to meet changing funding requirements.”

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