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North West Vision+Media eyes growth despite funding cuts

In an exclusive interview with Confidential, the woman who brought Captain America to the Northern Quarter claims that Salford Quays could be a development hub for the entire UK creative and digital sector

Published on August 4th 2010.

North West Vision+Media eyes growth despite funding cuts

North West Vision+Media, which works to develop the region’s digital and creative sector, may expand into a national organisation despite recent cuts in its funding.

“If you look at Marvel, we made that happen. That took months of work. We won Waterloo Road for Rochdale, which has been great for the town. That was going to go to Bristol.”

Alice Morrison, chief executive of NWVM, told Confidential the organisation was “exploring all the options” after it was told last week that its operational funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) is to end in March 2012.

“We are looking at a number of scenarios,” she said. “That could be shutting down completely in 2011; or making cuts and then growing again.

“We’d like the opportunity to look at the whole creative sector and bring that to England. We’d like to take what we do national. Salford could be the head office for that.

“It’s hard to say how many cuts we might have to make – those discussions have only really just started. But we know we have to look at a new way of doing things and identify new customers.”

NWVM works across TV, radio, publishing, music, games, film, digital and creative services and ICT sectors. Morrison said it had delivered a series of big wins in TV and film which had helped the regional economy. The most recent, which will see Marvel Studios shoot part of the Captain America film in Manchester, will bring £1m into the city, as well as 7,000 bed nights for its hotels.

In Greater Manchester, NWVM was responsible for 197 productions, spanning 1,070.5 filming days and worth an estimated £23.5m. The organisation’s forthcoming annual report is expected to show £48m of economic impact for the region, which Morrison said demonstrated its value.

“If you look at Marvel, we made that happen,” she said. “That took months of work. We won Waterloo Road for Rochdale, which has been great for the town. That was going to go to Bristol.”

Morrison said that although NWVM was funded largely by public money, it was not a quango, although it may have to change its commercial behaviour if not its structure. She said there was an overlap between many of the region’s public-serving bodies, however, which would have to be addressed “before somebody does it for us.”“We’re a private company limited by guarantee, but our remit is to deliver results not profit,” she said. “Could we become a fully commercial entity? I don’t see why not, but probably not with the same name.

“We like to take the best of private sector thinking and fulfil our public sector remit. We have to think in a private sector way when we are fighting for funding. We will all have to be commercially viable.

“Now the government has said the digital and creative economy is important, everybody will want to be in our sector, but talent always stands out in this industry. And we think we’re talented.”

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

LJAugust 5th 2010.

NMVM is too valuable a resource for the industry to lose. I hope they find a new way to continue.

G OsbourneAugust 5th 2010.

Stand in line for the review of your salary, Alice!

MBAugust 6th 2010.

How sweet of Alice to think her outfit is not a quango. It is funded "largely" by public money, that makes it a quango in my book.

Rupert MAugust 6th 2010.

take your film database AND RUN!

LadbrokesAugust 13th 2010.

Clever lady, trying to keep her staff to the last day, isn't she? VM going private? Give me a break!

AnonymousAugust 27th 2010.

I thought I was cynical! AM has the ability to make a success of this as a private business provided she learns that she'll have to do it without public money and really not be a quango (as a opposed to being not really a quango).

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