Today’s morning I happened to be at Hackney House or as other guests reported on Twitter feed ‘tent with gravel’. The Technology Strategy Board welcomed us with hot coffee. Shortly, Simon Hopkins announced that today we will kick off with applications for funding competition of Convergence in a Digital Landscape. The Technology Strategy Board is to invest £1.8m in feasibility projects. All micro businesses involved with creative industries are welcome to apply, but be aware, speakers emphasized several times “We are funding tech here”. Some started silently giggle at supposedly tiny budget. The other ones right away raised the question if voluntary work can be considered as the remaining 25% of project fund (TSB funds 75%). In this post you will find a short overview of the discussions as well as requirements for applicants.
Panel discussion “TV is Now the Second Screen”
Frank Boyd, Director, Creative Industries KTN
The start of the day was full of confusion in the air. Attendees were keen to clarify what is the investment for. Is it focused on particular media platforms? What is meant by cross-platform projects? What the investment aims to promote? Does it require the final product or just a prototype? Where should be the focus of applicants? And so forth.
Matthew Brown from Technology Strategy Board was not into clear answers for sure. He emphasized that the aim of investment is to build UK creative economy and see what future business models could look like. TSB is looking for projects which have potential to be commercialised, spot the money and create content for multi-platforms. And this is it, really. To summarise — “Just show us what you have and we will think if you worth our money”.
The second session featured Nikhil Shah and Grant Goddard. Both already have experience with applications and have been funded by TSB. They shared their experience working in music industry and gave some advice from applicants’ point of view. These are the ones I wrote down:
- The paperwork for TSB is extremely complicated, so do estimate and include hours for project management in your application
- TSB like big ideas, while applying be ambitious and don’t be afraid to say that you are going to change the world
- TSB funds super risky projects, they are aware of your chances to fail
- Apply for funding only if the idea is a core to your business, don’t apply just for getting money as you will get easily distracted from your business aims
- Don’t take too many partners, 2–3 partners are fair enough
- The calls of TSB are misleading, so do not hesitate to contact them several times and clarify if you understood everything correctly
- Be patient and learn from mistakes
Finally, we had a panel discussion about TV, broadcast media and interactive media. There was a clear divide between speakers. Some emphasised young generation and emerging trends of interactive media. In their opinion TV became only the second screen. Other group claimed that traditional media is not going away. Its’ strong business model is far affront of new media.
Mike Dicks, Senior Policy Executive, Pact
Well, of course the biggest business is where the masses hang out. However, not being the biggest TV fan myself, I am pasionate about niche content, innovative approach, gamification, interactive narrative and other mind blowing features which mostly appear in new media and digital. I am not sure what will happen to cross media platforms, but the future seems appealing and promising. Hopefully we will get some fresh ideas out of this investment!
If you are interested in applying for funding, please find more information here. The maximum budget for one project should not exceed £ 75.000 and the deadline for registration is 15 of August, 2012. Good Luck!