Northern Ireland

BBC and NI Screen sign new partnership to support local TV and online industries in NI

The BBC and Northern Ireland Screen have signed a new partnership agreement to support television and online industries in Northern Ireland.

They will work together to invest financially and creatively in developing an internationally competitive screen industry in NI.

They also aim to ensure NI is represented to audiences in the UK and internationally.

The BBC will invest a minimum of 2.9% of its network television spend in NI in 2016.

This is in addition to the investment provided by BBC Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Screen said it was committed to supporting the agreement by using funding mechanisms contained within its Opening Doors Strategy 2014-18 which has an overall added value target of £250m for the period 2014-18.

Under the partnership, the BBC and NI Screen will also support the production of broadcast and online content with network and international potential.

The agreement follows a call from Lord Hall for the BBC to be the risk capital for UK creative industries and Northern Ireland Screen's Opening Doors strategy, which was launched last spring to help Northern Ireland build the strongest TV, film and digital industry outside of London in the UK and Ireland within 10 years.

The BBC and Northern Ireland Screen will also collaborate in new and continuing content across factual, entertainment, digital, drama, children's and animation, learning and languages.

These collaborations include the recently announced new BBC One Saturday night entertainment series Can't Touch This and the third series of The Fall.

BBC Director-General Lord Hall says: "This partnership agreement with Northern Ireland Screen demonstrates our enthusiasm for working with others to make great things happen.

"In recent years Northern Ireland has proven itself to be a creative breeding ground for some of the UK's best drama and factual content. We want to support these areas and help develop exciting entertainment and digital prospects, such as the forthcoming BBC One series Can't Touch This.

"Along with Northern Ireland Screen we want to develop the creative talent that exists in Northern Ireland and make it a new force in broadcasting."

Northern Ireland Screen Chairwoman Rotha Johnston: "This marks a significant stage in the development of the Northern Ireland screen industry and underlines the importance of a joint approach to its future strategy.

"This partnership agreement is a clear substantiation of the wholesale commitment of the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen to invest financially and creatively in continuing to develop an internationally competitive screen industry in Northern Ireland."

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