Report – Opening the Vault

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 4:35pm by Catherine Trewavas

A panel of children’s media financing experts explored possibilities for raising and sourcing money for projects


  • Be confident and prepared when approaching commissioners
  • Have a simple, succinct business plan that can spark further conversations and opportunities
  • Look at all funding routes and research the possibility of unlocking extra money through secondary television royalties


Abhi Arya is the Co-Founder and Partner of Sandbox & Co. He discussed their emphasis on investment in gaming and educational content, focusing upon learning through entertainment. He cited some investment must-haves: unique IP, differentiated engagement, validated ideas that are child safe, and distribution opportunities that extend beyond a primary channel.

Tim Patterson, the CEO of IP management company Larkshead Media, helps to finance projects. He described it as “understanding the jigsaw” and said that there are three key words of importance in securing funding – confidence, likeability and timing.

Caroline Percy, Investment Manager from The Ingenious Group, said she is always willing to discuss funding but from her perspective the best time to get in contact is once conversations have started with a broadcaster and distributor, there is an idea of the tax break and a finance plan is coming together. Ingenious is one of the largest TV funds in Europe.

Rob Stapledon is Director of Commercial Banking at Arthuthnot Latham & Co, and he provided advice for approaching bank managers. He underlined the importance of understanding the difference between debt and equity. He said that a bank manager is looking at a profit margin of around 2-4 percent and said banks are not there to invest but to provide debt that is repaid over time. He emphasised that banks want to be the “the last in and the first out” to eliminate risk. They want to understand that there is a financing structure in place but business plans presented should be short and simple.

Ben Richards from 560 Media has “the capacity to unlock a treasure chest of money at the end of the production and transmission cycle” through secondary television royalties generated from television broadcast. There are three ways this can occur: through cable retransmission, private copying and educational copying. Awareness of these royalties is important so they are not unknowingly signed away.

Finally, entrepreneur Ellie Carter shared her experiences having built two businesses: Paper Chatterbox and Rave-A-Roo. She and her business partner secured investment through attending many industry events and successfully networking. She advised creating a picture of aims showing profitability, making ambitions realistic and giving a timescale for plans.

Session host Rosemary Klein concluded the session, saying: “trust flows two ways in investment”. Linking back to the theme of CMC 2017 creating open dialogue seems to be the most effective way of building funding opportunities.

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Catherine Trewavas

About the author

Catherine Trewavas

BBC Children's Acquisitions & Independent Animation, Production Management Assistant

Catherine is the Production Management Assistant for BBC Children's Acquisitions and Independent Animation – the team responsible for programmes including ‘Hey Duggee’, ‘Clangers’ and ‘Scream Street’. In addition to her day job, Catherine has a keen interest in journalism and writes articles for BBC newspaper Ariel. Catherine has previously worked… Read more