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November 2018

In the magazine
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  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 31st exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 48 pages of analysis of the sector
  • The Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual’s exclusive Commercial 30 survey, reporting on a year of highs and lows for commercials producers.
  • The Drama Genre Report
    With competition from streamers intensifying, UK broadcasters are exploring new drama strategies. Tim Dams reports
  • Primary Colours
    Five leading movie colourists tell Michael Burns the secrets of their craft, and explain the techniques they use to grade movies like The Danish Girl, Peterloo and Baby Driver
  • Up, up and away!
    Thanks to advances in camera technology, the possibilities of aerial filming are greater than ever before. Pippa Considine reports on some of the year’s standout aerial projects
  • OB: Which Way Now
    The OB industry is embracing major change as it adapts to the worlds of UHD, HDR and IP. Michael Burns reports
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Production 100 2012 Back to Reports & survey Listing

11 Left Bank
ceo Andy Harries md Marigo Kehoe
turnover £45m staff 21  commissions 6 hrs 30
key shows Mad Dogs (Sky1) DCI Banks (ITV1) Strike Back (Sky1)

Leading drama indie Left Bank was reported to be in the process of being acquired by Sony Pictures Television as Televisual went to press. It’s easy to see why Wallander producer Left Bank is an attractive buy. Annual turnover has risen signficantly from £32m to £45m, and it enjoys good business with all the key broadcasters. Left Bank is also in the business of popular long running, returning series - like Strike Back for Sky1 and DCI Banks for ITV1. Business, says md Marigo Kehoe, is tough but promising. With licence fees static or falling, Left Bank is having to stitch together more and more co-productions and to film abroad for tax credits. An alliance with a deep pocketed studio like Sony would help it to fund dramas much more easily.

12 Twofour
ceo Charles Wace md Melanie Leach
creative director Andrew Mackenzie
turnover £35.4m commissions 43 hrs 220
key shows Educating Essex (C4 ) Harry’s Arctic Heroes (BBC1) Cornwall with Caroline Quentin (ITV1)

Twofour is one of the largest - and most successful - of the UK’s truly independent production companies. Based out of Plymouth but with a big London office, the indie spans TV (56% of revenues), corporate production (19%) and digital (19%). It’s enjoyed hits like Educating Essex and has a strong record in making ad funded shows. Twofour is investing in international expansion this year, opening a US production office. It has also just launched its own distribution arm.

13 Hat Trick Productions
md Jimmy Mulville commercial director Paul Cohen
turnover £31.5m profit £2m staff 65
commissions 12 hrs 74
key shows Outnumbered (BBC1), Spy (Sky One), Facejacker (C4), Have I Got News For You? (BBC1)

Revenues are up significantly at Hat Trick this year to £31.5m from last year’s £24.2m. Director of operations Kate Wilson says the past year has been “broadly positive”, noting an increase in commissioning opportunities and rights income for the veteran indie production company which is behind hit shows such as Have I Got News For You?, Episodes and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Like many drama and comedy indies, Hat Trick has benefited from Sky’s decision to increase its UK production spend. Sky, for example, has recomissioned Hat Trick’s Bafta-winning comedy Spy for a second series. Wilson adds that margins are being squeezed as broadcasters tighten budgets, echoing the views of many indies. Hat Trick is now fully independent after buying itself back from private equity owners in 2009, and also owns a 25% share in highly regarded factual producer Plum Pictures. Some 80% of revenues come from TV production, while 19% is derived from Hat Trick’s extensive rights catalogue.

14 DCD Media
ceo Sammy Nourmand executive chairman David Green md (UK productions) Tim Hammond
turnover £29.9m profit £100k staff 70
commissions 32 hrs 96.5  key shows Penn & Teller: Fool Us (ITV1) Shirley (BBC2) Bridezillas (WE tv) The Girl Who Became Three Boys (C4)

There’s been plenty of change at DCD Media over the past year. DCD Media promoted September Films boss Sammy Nourmand to chief executive, while David Green became executive chairman. And a surprise investor, Aim-listed Timeweave, bought a 30% stake in the company. There’s speculation  they may invest further, with acquisitions and organic growth both possibilities. Nourmand says DCD has “held its own in challenging market conditions by refocusing on its core business – non-fiction production on both sides of the Atlantic. DCD has also expanded into post with the acquisition of Sequence Post and new indie Rize USA had a good start.
DCD Media’s UK indies include:
Prospect Pictures Shirley, Misbehaving Mums to Be
Rize USA Accused: The 74 Stone Babysitter, My Social Network Stalker (joint venture)
September Films Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Bridezillas
Matchlight (joint venture)

15 Boom Pictures
chairwoman Lorraine Heggessey ceo Huw Eurig Davies finance director Mark Fenwick exec director Gareth Rees md (Oxford Scientific Films) Clare Birks
turnover £27m profit £1.02m staff 200 key shows Stwnsh and Cyw (SC4) Alice (SC4) That Paralympic Show (C4)

Boom Pictures is the new name for Boomerang Plus. The Cardiff based indie group agreed a £7.1m management buyout led by former TalkbackThames and BBC1 boss Lorraine Heggessey in July. Since then Boom has signed a deal with Graham Linehan’s label Delightful Industries to produce comedy shows, and says it plans to invest in new talent and smaller indies. Business has been mixed over the past year, with a strong performance in branded content production and from factual businesses Oxford Scientific and Indus. But reduced funding at S4C means that Boom’s Welsh-language production has suffered, resulting in job losses.
Boom Pictures’s UK indies include:
Oxford Scientific Fatal Attractions, Meerkats 3d. Turnover: £3.6m. Commissions: 5: Hours: 15.5. Staff: 9
Boomerang Secret Supper Club, Freesports on 4
Indus The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls

16 Argonon
ceo James Burstall cfo Stuart Mullin
turnover £25.8m staff 50
commissions 40 hrs 2000
key shows Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake 3D (Sky Arts) NME Awards 2012 (C4) House Hunters International (HGTV)

Argonon, formed out of a joint venture between Leopard Films and Remedy Productions last year, aims to become a £100m a year superindie. It was on the verge of acquiring Spun Gold earlier this year, but the deal collapsed at the eleventh hour.
Argonon’s UK indies include:
Leopard Films Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake 3d
Remedy NME Awards 2012, Freshly Squeezed

17 Impossible Pictures
creative director Tim Haines md Jonathan Drake head of group operations Sheryl Trinh
turnover £22m staff 20
key shows Sinbad (Sky1) Fleabag Monkeyface (CITV) Titanic with Len Goodman (BBC2)

Impossible has climbed up the Production 100 this year on the back of turnover rising from £13.5m to £22m. The big production highlight of the year for Impossible was undoubtedly Sky1’s Sinbad, which showcased the indie’s speciality in producing big budget shows with impressive special effects. Impossible is a diversified business, working in kids (Fleabag Monkeyface) as well as drama, but its roots lie very much in factual (boss Tim Haines was the producer of 1999 BBC hit Walking With Dinosaurs). Factual shows this year include Titanic with Len Goodman and World War II: the Last Heroes. 95% of Impossible’s revenues come from TV production, while 5% is derived from rights income. A North American version of Impossible’s ITV drama Primeval was made this year by Omni Pictures.
impossible Pictures UK indies include:
Impossible Pictures Sinbad, Primeval
Impossible Kids Fleabag Monkeyface
360 Production Titanic with Len Goodman

18 Raw TV
md Dimitri Doganis head of UK factual Lucy Willis 
head of production Piers Vellacott
creative director Bart Layton
turnover £17.4m staff 12 commissions 12 hrs 94
key shows Neighbourhood Watched (BBC), Gold Rush (Discovery US) The Imposter (Film4)

A strong year for Raw TV has seen this true independent company climb up the Production 100 rankings and also score highly in the peer poll (it takes sixth place). The indie has thrived in the UK and US from formats like Discovery’s Gold Rush and Nat Geo’s Banged Up Abroad and is now pushing into drama production. Raw has also just made its first feature doc, The Imposter, which impressed in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in UK cinemas on August 24. With a reputation as creative indie, Raw says its key challenge for the year ahead is “managing growth” and that it intends to remain fiercely independent - although it doesn’t rule out creative partnerships with other producers. Turnover is up from £13.5m last year to £17.4m this year, and about half of this revenue comes from the US. In the past 12 months, Raw has won 12 commissions to make 94 hours of programming.

19 Sony Pictures Television

president of int’l production Andea Wong  md (Silver River) Daisy Goodwin md (Silver River) Samantha Lawrence md (Victory) Victoria Ashbourne mds (Gogglebox) Mat Steiner, Adam Wood
turnover £16.5m staff 35  commissions 28 hrs 659
key shows The Exit List (ITV1) Hidden Talent (C4) Is Football Racist (BBC3)

Sony is building up its UK production portfolio under president of international production Andrea Wong.The US studio acquired Daisy Goodwin’s Silver River Productions in February and is reported to be in the process of buying Wallander producer Left Bank. The addition of the two highly regarded indies would give Sony a solid foothold in British factual and drama TV. Sony is likely to make further acquisitions, or to fund new indies, this year.
Sony Pictures Television’s UK indies include:
Silver River Hidden Talent, Inside Gatwick. Turnover: £6.4m. Commissions: 10. Hours: 30. Staff: 20
Victory Television: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Exit List, Is Football Racist. Turnover: £4.1m. Commissions: 13. Hours: 20.5. Staff: 8
Gogglebox Entertainment Breakaway, The Unseen Tommy Cooper, The Exit List. Turnover: £6m. Commissions: 5. Hours: 44. Staff: 7

20 Nutopia
ceo Jane Root md Carl Griffin coo Helena Tait
staff 18 turnover £15.5m profit £2.2m
key shows Mankind (AETN) The British (Sky Atlantic) Great Expectations (Sky Living)

Nutopia is the go to indie for mega-history docs such as Sky Atlantic’s The British, History’s Mankind and Discovery’s How We Invented the World. Run by former Discovery Channel US and BBC2 boss Jane Root, it’s recently restructured following the departure of co-founder and md Laura Frances. A spate of new hires and promotions include former C4 factual entertainment commissioner Nav Raman who is expected to help Nutopia diversify into fact ent.

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