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The Tickle File is ftm's daily column of media news, complimenting the feature articles on major media issues. Tickle File items point out media happenings, from the oh-so serious to the not-so serious, that should not escape notice...in a shorter, more informal format.

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Week of March 27, 2017

Bank to collect on slow paying new media
creative finance for creatives

When media people consider creativity it’s always a view in the mirror. Who is most creative? They are; next question. When financial people consider creativity it is not entirely different. After all, who invented the credit default swap and all those genius derivatives?

For the financial people every sort of emerging business is a money-making opportunity. Film and TV producers have long bankrolled their creativity with other people’s money (OPM). UK-based Barclays Bank has provided financing to the media sector for about 30 years. But the new kids on the block, subscription video on demand (SVoD), is a new opportunity for service. (See more about SVoD here)

So now there is Barclays SVoD Financing, part of the bank’s media department, offering cash flow management services to producers, a variation on buying receivables or factoring. There’s always a fee. A GBP100 million, roughly US$ 125 million, fund has been set up to turn royalty contracts between production houses and SVoD providers (read: Amazon, Netflix, et.al.) into cash, all the better to pay the starving artists. The bank is targeting UK production houses impatiently waiting for their pay-day.

Publishers argue for climate change
dictators inspired

News publishers have many challenges, some unforeseen just a few years ago. There’s the entire digital sphere, from dramatic changes in news consumption to Google and Facebook. Business models have been upended.

A recent challenge is from US president Donald Trump. A group of fifty publishing executives represented by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) have written to convey “deep concern” over the American president’s disparaging relentlessly legitimate news organizations as “fake news” while elevating “alternative facts” delivered by those with lessor reputation. “We fear that the overall climate for media freedom currently being fostered by your project seriously jeopardises the on-going ability of a free press to hold power to account in the United States,” opened the letter (March 27). (See more about press freedom here)

That press freedom is enshrined in the US Constitution was noted “as one to which many other countries aspire.” The letter’s authors - and manyothers - were struck by Mr. Trump’s recent Twitter assertion that real news outlets are “the enemy of the American people” risks “inspiring authoritarian regimes abroad to weaken their commitment to democratic values.” Signatories include the New York Times Company (US), La Repubblica (Italy), Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russia), FAZ (Germany), La Nacion (Argentina) The Hindu (India) as well as several national publisher associations.

“It is a major international initiative to stand up for, above all, our American colleagues,” said Swedish media trade association TidningsUtgivarna (TU) managing director Jeanette Gustafsdotter, quoted by dagensmedia.se (March 27).

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