Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bad Wolf or Bad Debt?

Its still August and the silly season is not yet over so I am not sure that the Welsh Tories criticism that  Pay packages for three directors at a television company that received a £4m Welsh Government loan should be treated with much outrage
Accounts for Bad Wolf revealed large remuneration packages worth a total of £1.8m over 18-months.

They have already secured three major productions for Wales in His Dark Materials, an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels, A Discovery of Witches, based on Deborah Harkness’ historical fantasy novel, and an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s trilogy The Warlord Chronicles.
Bad Wolf also has a partnership with US cable company HBO.
None of these have any real Welsh connection. So its another Made in Wales production d be and nice if the assembly invested in film companies that made productions that actually reflected  Wales
Tory AM Suzy Davies said the payments were a "cause for concern".
But the firm said the company has brought in millions more in investment to Wales, and says it has just struck deals with HBO and Sky.
The two firms have taken a minority stake in the company. Bad Wolf said it would be paying back the loan with interest.
According to the BBC
The company, which was set up in 2015 by former BBC executives Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter and is based in south Wales and Los Angeles, is currently working on two pf the projects series, A Discovery Of Witches and His Dark Materials.
Accounts for July 2015 to December 2016 show the Welsh Government gave the firm a loan worth just under £4m.
The documents says that Ms Tranter received £855,417 while Ms Gardner was given £519,301. A third director, Miles Ketley, received £441,539. He resigned from the company in March 2017.
Part of Ms Tranter's pay - £300,000 - was earmarked for relocation expenses. She was also given a loan of £270,645. At the end of 2016 £186,861 of the loan was still owing.
The accounts state that the firm achieved a turnover of £1.8m and a gross profit of £519,941, but after administrative expenses of £3.7m it made a loss of £3.1m.
Ms Davies, the Welsh Conservative's culture spokeswoman, said while the party hopes that Bad Wolf and its pipeline projects will achieve great success, "there are aspects of its finances which are concerning".
She said it was "curious" why the Welsh Government loan was guaranteed against the value of the company's assets, which she said the report showed "are worth a mere fraction relative to the loan's value".
"That the three directors are collectively paying themselves an annual income equivalent to nearly half of loan's value is also a cause for concern - especially given that their projects are still in the inchoate stages and are yet to make a return," she said.
"The Welsh Government's less-than-stellar record on investment decisions has been well-publicised, and taxpayers will rightly be questioning how ministers have found themselves in this position yet again - especially in a sector where Wales is working hard to promote a strong international offer."

I don't know what  the sought of remunerations  people in a similar role are but obviously until  the productions start receiving advertising revenue , they are going to take a while before they move in to profit.

In the meantime  people have to get paid and much as we may deplore the size of their earnings  unless we have comparisons in the film industries  are the Tories really in a position to criticize?

Northern Ireland's economy has been boosted  by the Blockbuster series Game of Thrones  with numerous locations being used .

To what extent Bad Wolf will use Welsh Locations remains to be seen.

Hopefully it would be extensive but lets hope it will also see Welsh storylines included in the future.

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