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Barclays Just Launched a Huge Fund for Streaming TV Projects

The Barclays Plc logo.The Barclays Plc logo.
Barclays' bosses kept their freedom but lost their innocence.Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg—Getty Images

The proliferation of streaming television content has prompted Barclays to launch a new fund aimed at helping the British bank’s clients develop more streaming programs.

Barclays said on Tuesday morning that it has created a new $125 million fund to be used specifically to support U.K.-based TV production clients’ streaming video-on-demand projects. Barclays added that the fund is the first of its kind from a major U.K. bank.

The new fund is a reaction to the growing popularity of streaming services, many of which are spending big money to churn out their own original content. Netflix has publicly stated its plans to spend at least $6 billion this year to produce more than 1,000 hours of original content, while rival Amazon is expected to spend at least that much, if not more, on video content for the e-commerce giant’s streaming service.

 

However, Barclays noted that streaming TV producers often face obstacles in securing funding because revenue from the online content can be spread out over a longer period than a traditional broadcast TV show. For that reason, Barclays opted to tweak its loan structure for the new fund to let clients borrow money over a longer period of time, thus allowing them to develop more content.

Barclays added that one of the first U.K. companies to take advantage of the new fund is Roughcut Television, an independent production house known for producing BBC comedies such as Cuckoo and People Just Do Nothing. In a statement, Roughcut commercial director Tim Sealey noted that streaming platforms like Netflix “are notorious for paying [producers] over a long period.” Instead, through the new fund, Barclays will purchase Roughcut’s Netflix receivable—a placeholder for cash Netflix would eventually pay Roughcut as part of a multi-year streaming contract for Cuckoo—allowing Barclays to give the production company access to upfront cash.

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“The TV industry specifically is in a really exciting place and is evolving at pace, with more than 250,000 people in the UK employed in the sector,” Lorraine Ruckstuhl, the head of media at Barclays’ corporate banking arm, said in a statement. “We’ve been supporting TV production with a dedicated Media team for over 30 years, and know that to meet the needs of our clients we have to adapt with them and with the viewing habits of the public.”