PACT visit to Producers' Forum

On Thursday 28th February, the Producers’ Forum was delighted to be able to welcome PACT up to Birmingham to meet the production companies and sector bodies on the ground here.

With a good cross-section of the production community represented including animation, factual, childrens, documentaries and corporate it made for a good discussion.

Alison Grade, Producers’ Forum and Michael Gubbins, WMSB welcomed John McVay, CEO, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, Director Global and Business Development and Susie Halliday, Policy Assistant from PACT at the start.

John started the session by talking about what PACT do and the importance of Out of London in their work to address regional imbalances. The Out of London opportunity for producers has never been greater. PSBs are now committed to spending 50% on OOL and for the BBC there is now 100% competition for spend. As part of PACT’s commitment to OOL they are opening an office in Leeds and will be holding their monthly Council meetings in locations around the UK. They have agreed to hold one here in Birmingham this year.

That’s all great news for OOL producers but if our focus is on trying to steal each other’s pieces of the pie it’s not going to end well. We need to be more ambitious and focus on growing the size of the cake.

For PACT the opportunity for producers is global. This was highlighted by some stark figures. In 2001 the UK production sector was worth £600m. In 2018 this had risen to £3.2Bn of which 50% was international. The cake has been growing. The challenge now for us as WM based producers is to grow our slice considerably.

This is where PACT can provide bespoke support through their recently launched programmes – Business Accelerator and Production Accelerator. These programmes build on the success of their existing export accelerator programme and are focussed on growing start-up production companies and those that are new to market.

PACT can also support through their existing services which include dedicated Business Affairs support and template agreements for productions.

John was keen to emphasise that they have an entry level membership tariff designed for this audience which is affordable and should be cost neutral especially when you factor in the business affairs offering.

Dawn McCarthy-Simpson, Director Global and Business Development then took us through the export accelerator offer in detail and showed how it could benefit producers at all stages. The recently launched Business and Production Accelerators would follow a similar formula.

Overall the message from PACT was that they are here to help producers grow their businesses. They can’t come up with the ideas, but the rest they can help with. And as their revenues are directly linked to a production company’s turnover growing the size of the cake is as vital to them as it is to all of us. It was clear from the discussion that PACT want to be there for the long haul with producers. Put very clearly in their strap line – Respond – Recruit – Retain.

Producers’ Forum and WMSB will be following up this session with further discussion with PACT about working more closely together as we can see strong alignment between the new services being launched by PACT and our producers’ needs on the ground here.

Alison Grade, CEO Producers’ Forum

Producers Forum