Parthenon teams with Barcud Derwen to win S4C International ‘outsourcing’ deal
Cardiff/London, 23rd August… Factual distribution specialist Parthenon Entertainment and Welsh facilities house Barcud Derwen have won their joint bid to run pub-caster S4C’s programme sales and co-production operations. The award of the new three-year contract follows S4C’s decision effectively to farm out its international business activities. That decision was taken as a result of the Communications Act 2003, which significantly changed the regulations governing the broadcaster’s trading operations. Parthenon, which has offices in London, Munich and – shortly – Washington DC, will set up a new base with Barcud Derwen in Cardiff. The 50/50 joint venture will retain the S4C International brand name. The Welsh public broadcaster first issued an invitation to tender for its overseas distribution and co-production brokering operations back in April. The Parthenon and Barcud Derwen joint venture easily made it onto the shortlist of three, and ultimately won the contract amidst stiff competition.
S4C International’s director of international business, Huw Walters, decided to quit as part of the restructuring plan and is believed to have considered launching his own bid for the outsourcing contract. Parthenon and Barcud Derwen will now work together to breathe new life into the S4C International programme catalogue. They will also find co-production partners for new Welsh programming and provide additional funding for appropriate ventures. For Parthenon, the deal adds some 200 programmes to its catalogue, boosting that to a total of around 750. For Barcud Derwen, it delivers the largest UK television facilities resource outside of London, along with a bigger stake in the future of Welsh indie output. For the Welsh indie sector, the two companies hope that their collaboration will provide a significant step up into the international arena. ”We want to encourage Welsh companies to produce for us for the international market,” said Parthenon MD, Carl Hall. “There’s such vibrant creativity in the principality but the work of Welsh producers is simply not getting the exposure it deserves.” Hall said that the joint venture would aim to fund new Welsh programming and secure co-production partners from around the world. By providing advice and support during the earliest stages of preproduction, Parthenon hopes to make these shows as viable and attractive internationally as possible.
Barcud Derwen, meanwhile, will not only lend vital additional support through its extensive production facilities infrastructure, but will also be able to provide deficit financing. Bryn Roberts, Barcud Derwen’s MD, pointed out that the company had already invested over £1m in international co-productions over the past five years and that the joint venture with Parthenon represented a “natural progression”. He went on: “This partnership will produce programmes of international appeal. We will add value to these, both by investing equity and by being part of the distribution effort.”
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Parthenon Entertainment was set up by Managing Director Carl Hall, to create, commission, fund, develop and distribute high quality factual television for family audiences worldwide. The company has nearly 500 hours of documentaries across its key genres of Nature, Science, History and People and has recently secured the distribution of two prestigious libraries: the award winning Scandinature Science and Nature catalogue and the bespoke True Stories catalogue specialising in Historical and Human Interest titles.
Working across specialist factual and factual entertainment programming, Creative Director Natalie Humphreys is an award-winning programme maker with a strong track record in delivering high-rating series and specials for broadcasters in the UK and internationally. Parthenon’s In house distribution team exploits the following key genres across all media worldwide: Adventure & Travel, Arts, Music & Culture, Educational, Feature Length, History & Ethnology, Natural History & Wildlife.
Barcud Derwen is the largest television company outside London (source: Televisual). The company was formed as a result of a merger between Barcud and Derwen in 1997. It has expanded dramatically since then and the group is now run as eleven divisions. Barcud Derwen’s vision is to build on the excellence of its facilities and services by embracing emerging advances in technology, in conjunction with the engagement of skilled and experienced staff in all aspects of broadcasting to enhance its role as a leading service provider.