Creative England to Invest $1.56 million in Digital Companies

The British regional funding giant will pump the cash into small and medium sized companies to support digital fiction projects for the BBC and Channel 4.

LONDON – U.K. regional government-backed funding agency Creative England will pump £1 million ($1.56 million) into the digital creative sector with its latest round of funding into the so-called Digital Fiction Factory (DFF).

The cash will be distributed to support small and medium sized companies across the North of England to develop new digital fiction formats, meaning TV-like content for online and mobile platforms, for the BBC and Channel 4.

Described by Creative England’s business development director Jim Farmery as a “21st century production and development center," the DFF is billed as a "creative partnership between Conker Media, the BBC, Channel 4 and Creative England."

The arrangement marks one of the first creative commissioning partnerships between the two U.K. broadcasters.

Creative England, founded in 2011, is an organization that provides funding support to independent film, TV and other creative businesses in all regions of England except for London. It is backed by regional governments.

Funding packages of between £10,000 ($15,600) and £150,000 ($234,571) will be posted to companies to develop proof-of-concepts and prototypes, which may be taken on to full production by either of the partner broadcasters.

The cash boost follows the recent plans for Creative England's $1.56 million business investment fund and marks the second strand to be made available through Creative England’s £5 million ($7.8 million) Regional Growth Fund awarded to stimulate jobs and growth within the digital and creative sectors.

BBC North director Peter Salmon said: "The Digital Fiction Factory was originally created between the BBC and Conker Media to create a pan-industry partnership to find new ways to engage with the audience in the digital space. Following Channel 4’s recent membership we are delighted that Creative England is now joining and that one of the first companies to benefit is a Newcastle-based digital company" named Riff Raff.

Channel 4 head of online Richard Davidson-Houston said: "It’s great that Creative England has seen the potential and is joining in."

So far, 244 businesses are already part of the DFF network.

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