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DCD lines up first finance fund projects

DCD Rights, the television distributor, has already committed £1 million in principle out of its new £10 million gap finance fund, reports Tim Adler.

Four television programmes went before DCD’s funding committee when it met for the first time last week. They are three factual series and one drama series.

DCD is coy as to where the £10 million deficit-finance fund is actually coming from. All it will say is that the money has been raised "by association".

The fund will cover around 30-50% of net sales forecast after the distributor has taken its 20-35% commission. If a company has 80% of its budget funded by the BBC, a producer can then approach DCD Rights to cover the remaining 20%. The caveat is that unlike other television gap financiers DCD Rights must sell the programme itself.

The money can be used by both DCD’s own productions and by outside producers as well. DCD bought producer September Films last year as well as factual producers West Park Pictures and Prospect Pictures. It also owns drama producer Box TV and arts and entertainment producer Iambic Pictures.

International US/UK co-productions could also benefit from the cash as well as Australian productions.

Nicky Davies Williams, CEO of DCD Rights, says: "The fund is based on sales quotes rather than shortfalls. The first thing we look at is the sales potential of a programme and what rights are still available. DCD then draws up its own estimates and could then advance 30-50% of what those unsold territories are worth."

As to why an independent producer should approach DCD as opposed to a bank, Davies Williams says the vetting process is relatively quick and simple. If a producer needs money in a hurry to secure a commission, then DCD could offer pre-approvals which could nudge a broadcaster into agreeing to the other 80% of the budget.

Davies Williams says, "It partly assists in the financing of in-house productions and also allows up to step up a gear in third-party distribution. We’ve spent the last year being very active in external programming that requires extra finance."