FOCUS and MG ALBA join forces to deliver business development support


FOCUS and MG ALBA are to work together to offer five suppliers the opportunity to access fully-funded commercial affairs support and mentoring from industry experts.

FOCUS is a two-year business development pilot project delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute and supported by Screen Scotland and Scottish Enterprise. By investing in targeted, sector specific business support, the project aims to create a stronger, more resilient screen sector, with companies better equipped to take advantage of the evolving opportunities for content creators in a changing market. 

The partnership between MG ALBA and FOCUS will give the channel’s suppliers access to targeted business support which will allow them to maximise the international partnerships which are key to both their growth and to ensuring high value content for BBC ALBA. 

Last year MG ALBA announced a series of domestic and international agreements amounting to £5.2m for high-quality programmes for Scotland’s Gaelic-language television channel, highlighting the increasing role of domestic and international co-production for the channel and its suppliers.  

A total of £15k is allocated to the partnership, including £10k of consultancy costs, as well as overheads, with the cost of all support shared equally three ways between Screen Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and MG ALBA. 

Each participating company will be able to access up to £3k of support. This will take the form of one-to-one corporate affairs mentoring and advice from specialist consultants The Televators – a collective of TV consultants headed by Kirstie McLure and Nikki Tilley. The company covers areas of strategic planning, growth, co-production, budgeting and funding and has an extensive global network.

Consultancy will be tailored to the needs of the company, and might include a review of contracts and processes, IP audits, and setting up effective processes and workflows.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy and Partnership, said: “Giving our production companies the opportunity to build on our existing co-production and co-finance strategy will help to economically strengthen our sector and in turn lead to great content for BBC ALBA. In developing the business affairs capacity of our production partners, they’ll have the tools to grow and expand and our BBC ALBA audience and the Gaelic-speaking workforce can only benefit from this.”

Rebecca Thompson, Business Development Manager, FOCUS, said: “The first cohort of twenty FOCUS companies are already demonstrating that focused, sector specific business development support can significantly impact company growth and ambition in the screen sector. We are delighted to be working with MG ALBA and The Televators to support BBC ALBA suppliers to achieve their company ambitions and widen the impact of the programme.”

Kirstie McLure from The Televators said: “The Televators are delighted to be collaborating with MG ALBA and FOCUS in this exciting initiative. We aim to create a bridge between the excellent creative skills of BBC ALBA suppliers and the broader international community by extending co-production partnerships. Great content and strong relationships are key to business growth and we are delighted to be involved in this model building firm foundations for Scottish and international collaborations in the future.”

Ben Taylor from Screen Scotland said: “FOCUS is an excellent example of Screen Scotland’s drive to support growth in Scotland’s Screen sector. FOCUS has proven to be extremely useful programme and we hope that BBC ALBA suppliers will be able to take the next step towards realising their growth ambitions and increasing content production in Scotland.”

Susan McColl, who leads on screen at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The FOCUS partnership, which spans the public and private sectors, is already proving an effective model for supporting Scotland’s growing screen sector. We are confident this new partnership with MG ALBA will build on that success as well as giving more companies the opportunity to access expert support and achieve company growth.”

The opportunity is available to Scotland-based production companies with previous Gaelic content broadcast credits and a desire for growth. The deadline for applications is Friday 23rd August. 

Full guidelines and an online application form are available on the FOCUS website:

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