Wales is getting a new digital director and a new-look investment arm for creative multimedia projects.
They were two recommendations of a big creative industries review commissioned from former Independent editor and BBC News director Ian Hargreaves last year. The Welsh Assembly Government proposed implementing Hargreaves’ recommendations, and assembly members backed the executive’s intention on Tuesday.
According to Hargreaves’ report, the Creative IP Fund – the country’s main public investment pot for the sector, which was established in 2005 and is managed by the Finance Wales investment firm – has been unsuccessful compared with other regional media development funds because it has focused too much on financing movies and TV, not enough on new media and music; it’s only made back 21 percent of the £10 million it’s invested.
Per his recommendation, a reformed Creative Industries Fund will be opened by April 2011 to invest in digital as well as other projects, though funds will come on-stream sooner, from June 2010. This will be a “cluster of funds” and will likely require startups be match-funded, just as with the existing fund.
There will also be a new Digital Wales Board inside the Welsh Assembly Government, led by a high-level director and containing a Creative Industries Strategic Hub that will oversee the new fund and unite digital strategy across government departments.
The Welsh Assembly has previously thrown its weight behind the outgoing Labour government’s proposal for independently-funded news consortia, but, with no jurisdiction over broadcasting, that’s out of its hands.