Scottish companies secured around 5% of the €9m in EU MEDIA programme funds awarded to UK film, TV and animation producers, distributors, exhibitors and training organisations last year. Setting aside film distribution subsidies which, not surprisingly, go to (the overwhelming) London based companies, a healthier looking 10% of the €4.3 spent on development, TV broadcasting, interactive, festivals, VOD and training came across the border. Sadly that apparently reasonable figure masks the terminal decline in Scottish based companies accessing funds for project or slate development which has reached its lowest level – zero – ever. A marked contrast, as we’ve noted before, to the 200,000+ that Scottish producers were averaging in the early noughties.
So to what ends did the three award totaling €492,103 in EU MEDIA funding that was secured for Scotland last year go?
Having accounted for all the funds awarded in Scotland last year that leaves development and production in Scotland bereft of any EU MEDIA support for the first time ever. In contrast irish producers scooped up a healthy €290,000 in single project and slate development support, not the highest ever but helping them to an average 440k over the last five years compared to a Scottish average of 58K.
Once again we have to ask – are Scottish production companies applying and failing or just not applying for MEDIA support? And if the former it that because we lose out on the extra weighting given to ‘small’ countries that Ireland, as an independent state, benefit from? Or is it that we’ve lost our ability to fathom the funding requirements of EU bodies, or that we don’t (difficult to believe) need the money?
In any event MEDIA is (almost) gone so long live Creative Europe which picks up the cause of cross border audiovisual and cultural support from next year. It will, however, continue to do much the same work as MEDIA did with a similar sized budget so it would be nice to think Scotland’s animation, film, games and TV producer will have more success with it than they have recently with MEDIA.