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MORE BUSTLE ABOUT HUSTLE

02-06-2009

The Stirrer yesterday welcomed the arrival of the BBC's Hustle to the West Midlands, but questioned why one publicly funded agency - Screen WM - was effectively subsidising another - the BBC. Sarah Arnesen from Screen WM reveals that the investment could end up being a money spinner for the region.

Hi Adrian,

I have just read your article on the website and am a little concerned that the information you have put on there is not entirely correct.

You ask the question why one publicly funded body (Screen WM) is effectively subsidising another (the BBC)?

It's a very good question, and the first one we always ask ourselves before investing in TV draw. Why would tax payers want to pay twice, effectively? The answer being “they wouldn’t!” is the reason why we turn down 99% of approaches we get to do a TV single, a TV special, or a one off drama.... We would end up just subsidising broadcasters’ budgets and such an investment would not represent good value for money.

Hustle is different, because it is an established international brand with a life beyond the UK, and owned by an independent production company who has the right to exploit the brand beyond the UK terrestrial broadcast.

We are effectively investing in the worldwide exploitation of the series by Kudos. Reliable sales projections for this series tells us that even if the series does half as well as each of the last 5 series abroad, we will still recoup our investment.

Which means, more money again to re-invest in regional production or production coming to the region. Given the collapse of the pound hedging in our favour as well, this only makes a stronger financial case for confidence that we are investing wisely.

This means that the economic impact of the series coming here in terms of spend on crew (for which we have joint approvals by the way) and facilities is enhanced and capitalised on. With relatively low risk, this investment ensures that as much of the money that can be spent in the region making the series WILL be spent, with ultimately limited negative impact on local tax payers.

The key thing for us now is to really make sure that anyone who is in the business who is from or based in the region, registers with us, so that we can then make the introduction to the production team. If we don't know about you then we can't introduce you.

For those interested with an established connection to the tv industry, please write with their cv’s or details about their business to: crew@screenwm.co.uk with “HUSTLE” in the header. We’ll be in touch to tell you how to register on-line on our data base.

Many thanks,

Sarah

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