Channel 5, part of Viacom International Media Networks, has today announced a new initiative, working in partnership with Simone Pennant MBE, Founder of The TV Collective, to encourage more BAME-owned and managed independent production companies to work with Channel 5. The programme supports the channel’s ambition of creating a slate of popular and mainstream programmes that reflect contemporary Britain.
Channel 5 is looking for nine small or medium sized BAME companies, primarily in the regions, who are owned and managed by BAME off-screen talent, to be matched with the nine-strong commissioning team on the channel. The ambition of the programme is to bring mainstream and popular programmes to the screen, from BAME-owned production companies.
The TV Collective, established ten years ago and dedicated to promoting the creative and commercial value diversity adds to the British TV and film industries, will help create a shortlist of production companies, who can make contact with either the commissioning team, or the TV Collective, if they wish to be considered. Nine production companies will be chosen over the summer and a commissioner allocated to each production company to help nurture and develop them. They will also receive development money to help build ideas.
Ben Frow, Director of Programmes, Channel 5 said: “We’re looking for producers who have a burning ambition to make mainstream and populist programming that will deliver a large audience to Channel 5. The objective of the programme is not about producing niche programming; we are opening the door to ambitious and talented BAME-run indies who can deliver content with broad appeal across all our key genres, and most importantly, offer programming ideas that will resonate with viewers. We are delighted to partner with the brilliantly talented Simone from TV Collective and look forward to building productive and long term new relationships.”
Simone Pennant MBE, Founder at The TV Collective said: “This is an exciting opportunity for BAME producers to really grow their businesses and we’re very proud to be involved. Fundamental ways of increasing diversity, particularly at senior levels both on and off screen is not only by diversifying the content, and decision makers but also importantly, who is making it. Ben really gets this. He understands the importance of giving producers a creative outlet and the opportunity to grow as opposed to just offering BAME producers a job. It is so refreshing and inspiring to work with someone like Ben and his team who are forward thinking, progressive but above all willing to put their money where their mouth is. I’m really excited to see what these talented production companies come up with and eventually watching the results on Channel 5.”
This initiative follows the success of last year’s small regionals initiative, where each commissioner was empowered to identify, nurture and support two production companies from the regions (total of 16), with the aim of helping deliver their ideas and shows to the screen. The initiative resulted in nearly £4m of commissions and 35 hours of new peak time content.
The programme is open to producers of a wider range of genres, ranging from specialist factual to features, drama and documentaries. Producers wishing to submit their companies can do so via: https://www.thetvcollective.org and have until 28th July.