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Launch of £50m collaboration to develop global hub for TV, film and media innovation in Wales

19 October 2022

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A new £50 million collaboration aims to develop a world-leading hub for innovation across TV, film, and the wider media industry in Wales.

Media Cymru is being led by Cardiff University, with government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund, Welsh Government through Creative Wales, additional support from Cardiff Council, industry and university partners, as well as the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal.

Over the next five years, the collaboration will help develop businesses and individuals within the sector with a series of funding rounds, training and research opportunities. It will work to strengthen the economic contribution of media activities to create hundreds of jobs and develop new start-ups in the media sector.

The area is already one of the best performing and third largest media clusters in the UK after London and Manchester, creating one in eight of all new UK jobs in film and TV. There are 1,318 firms currently active in the audiovisual media sector in the region, generating an annual turnover of £545 million and employing more than 10,000 people.

Professor Justin Lewis, Director of Media Cymru and based at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, said: “Cardiff and the surrounding capital region has already situated itself as a major player in the media industry.

The Media Cymru funding allows us to be even more ambitious – to make Wales a global leader in media innovation – with a focus on global, green and fair economic growth.

Professor Justin Lewis Professor of Communication

One of the opportunities currently available through Media Cymru is its Innovation Pipeline, which provides funding and training opportunities for businesses and creatives, with the aim of increasing their ability to carry out research, development and innovation (RD&I), and bring more ideas, diversity, and growth to the industry.

Freelancers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can apply for up to £10,000 to develop ideas for new products and services; up to £50,000 will be available for businesses to develop RD&I projects that demonstrate clear potential for a tangible product or service; and up to £200,000 for projects of significant scale and ambition that have the potential to be transformational for the sector with international impact.

Another opportunity, the BBC Content Innovation Fund, will see between three and five Wales-based companies receive up to £50,000 each to develop a new ambitious programme idea for factual or sport aimed for broadcast on BBC One Wales and iPlayer.

In addition, Media Cymru is carrying out the Wales Screen Workforce Survey, the country’s first nationwide survey to assess the skills and training needs, attitudes and experiences of people working across film and TV, games, animation, VFX, and post-production to build a broad and inclusive talent base for the future.

Its Innovation Spaces initiative will also look to connect the region’s diverse community of businesses and freelancers, using in-person and digital workshops to provide access to new technology opportunities, support, and share the latest knowledge and ideas.

Secretary of State for Wales, Robert Buckland, said: “Wales has a thriving media industry with the potential to grow into a leader not just in the UK, but across the globe.

“Media Cymru will help ensure that Welsh media innovators have the resources to develop world class solutions to the issues of our day, as they drive forward ambitious projects that mark them out from the competition.”

Dawn Bowden, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “The Welsh Government is delighted to be supporting this collaboration to help build on the success our media producers are currently enjoying in Wales.

“Giving our brightest talent the opportunity to develop and showcase their ability to innovate will not only enhance the reputation of the industry across the globe, but lead to greater returns for both our economy and our society which will ultimately benefit the region as a whole.”

Council Leader, Councillor Huw Thomas said: “This is a golden era for film making and media production in Cardiff, delivering significant growth in the Creative Industries. Our ambition is for Cardiff, the Capital Region, and Wales, to be a global hub for media innovation and production, leading one the most successful sectors in the UK.

"The Media Cymru partnership is central to achieving that and will help attract inward investment, grow our indigenous creative businesses sustainably and inclusively, create jobs, and nurture the diverse talent pipeline that will establish Cardiff and the wider region as one of the world’s most progressive and sustainable media clusters.”

Councillor Anthony Hunt, Chair of Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Regional Cabinet, said: “We are hugely ambitious about building on our media sector in Wales. We’ve seen the difference that’s been made in Manchester, and the Cardiff region has all the talent and skills needed to make a first class centre for media businesses.

“Media Cymru will also play a significant role shaping our region’s economic recovery following the Covid pandemic, helping everyone share in future prosperity, from Merthyr to Monmouthshire, Bridgend to Blaenau Gwent.”

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