Independent television production company Rondo is continuing to drive revenue growth outside the Welsh market place.
The business, created in 2008 through the merge of Opus and Nant, has secured its first series with Channel 4 after last year’s successful one off documentary My Tattoo Addiction. A follow three part series for Channel 4, produced by Rondo, will be screened in the autumn.
The initial documentary was commissioned after Rondo successfully bid for financial backing from the channel’s Alpha Fund; which is aimed at supporting independents win commissions for the first time.
Rondo has also secured a third series of the popular BBC network series the Indian Doctor. Filming for the network day time aired drama set in the Valleys in the 1960s and starring Sanjeev Bhaskar. is currently taking place in Blaenavon, Llantrisant and studios at Culverhouse Cross.
It has also been confirmed that the company, which is based in Cardiff, Caernarfon and Menai Bridge has been commissioned by S4C for the 19th consecutive series of drama Rownd a Rownd, which is now aired twice a week at the prime time slot of 7:30pm
Chief executive of Rondo, Gareth Williams, said: “Over the last 18 years it is estimated that Rownd a Rownd has contributed to £55m local economy. It employs over 100 actors and freelancers and technicians as well as having a wider ripple effect in terms of spend.”
When Rondo was launched it had a turnover of £10m and a direct workforce of 24.
Mr Williams “For the current financial year [to end of March 2014] we are forecasting £14m. We directly employs 62, but support hundreds of freelancers.”
Mr Williams said that the Welsh marketplace, despite budget cuts to BBC Cymru Wales and in particular S4C, would remain an important source of revenue for the business.
He added:“We are looking to increase our share of revenue generated from commissions out of Wales, an area where we have been worked extremely in the last few years. However, the Wales marketplace is also important to us.”
As a business he said that Rondo did not have “all its eggs in one basket.”
He added: “We have seen growth across various genres, including sport, music and drama and more recently with a focus on factual.”
Mr Williams said that while the independents had seen a cut in commissioning revenues with S4C as a result of its reduced budget – for which the lion’s share now comes from the BBC licence fee with £76.3m this year – the channel had also “shared the pain” by significantly reducing its running costs.
He said:“The communication [between S4C and the independents] and the relationship has improved significantly. There has also been more effective lobby [making the economic case in Westminster not to cut S4C’s funding further].
S4C is a massive enabler for the creative industry.
“ There are opportunities too for international co-productions which would only help to improve recognition of the S4C brand outside of Wales, as we have doing as company in terms of growing our network commissions.”
Last month it was confirmed that the Department of Media Culture and Sport would continue to fund S4C with £6.8m up until 2016.
It is still unclear what the funding model will be for S4C as result of the BBC’s charter renewal for 2017 onwards.