U.K.'s high-growth media firms named

NESTA list includes TV, digital, ad companies

LONDON -- A third of the 24 companies identified as the U.K.'s "top creative businesses of tomorrow" are television production outfits, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

The 24 companies identified as "high growth" by NESTA and its partners -- U.K. film and TV trade body Pact and business research firm Grant Thornton -- include 14 digital media firms and a pair of advertising shingles. Each of the companies selected is being teamed with individual mentors to guide them to greater heights.

The move will see TV production company house Avatar Prods. team up with BBC Worldwide content and production director Wayne Garvie while M&C Saatchi Global CEO Moray MacLennan offers his guidance and support to digital media company Novarising.

Other couplings will see All3Media managing director Louise Pedersen lend her expertise to TV production company October Films and TV production company Kindle Entertainment get a steer from Tiger Aspect chief Andrew Zein.

The ambition is to help build "world class businesses of tomorrow" while "boosting the U.K.'s creative industry," according to NESTA and its partners.

The 24 outfits were selected from hundreds of submissions to NESTA before being matched with a mentor.

"Creative businesses are highly networked, but getting practical, intelligent advice on business growth, from people who appreciate their sector, is tough to find," NESTA creative economy director Jon Kingsbury said. "Our program focuses on the highly innovative, creative businesses which will contribute to the creative industries leading the U.K. out of recession."

NESTA research indicates that between 2009 and 2013 the U.K. creative industries -- which spans movies, music, fashion, TV advertising and digital media including video games production -- will grow on average at 4%, more than double the rate of the rest of the economy.

By 2013, the sector is expected to employ 1.3 million people, with as many as 180,000 creative businesses in the sector, compared with the current 148,000. In the same year, the sector is expected to contribute as much as £85 billion to the U.K., up from £57 billion.

But NESTA research also has found that in 90% of creative businesses, more than half the senior management team has not had any business development training and only 35% of creative businesses have set business revenue goals.