When successful documentary maker 3DD Productions needed funds to make more programmes more quickly, it decided to look beyond the ‘traditional’ high street lenders.
It opted instead for the ‘alternative’ market, and Peer-to-peer (P2P) funding specialists F&P. Now, three years on, 3DD has halved film editing time by bringing the process in-house, increased gross profit margins by 10 percent (from 38 percent to 48 percent), and almost doubled its annual programme output to more than 70 hours. And its success continues.
The initial challenge was to identify an asset against which funds could be secured. F&P recognised there was significant value in 3DD’s back catalogue, which it owned outright. This proved ample security for lenders, and the first round of funding was over-subscribed.
Since then, 3DD has secured a further 11 rounds of funding, helping it to introduce greater capacity and often running as many as three Series’ production in parallel. It is one of many success stories within the F&P portfolio of more than 250 businesses who have secured £100 million in funding to help them prosper and grow.
Camden-based 3DD Productions produces historical and biographical non-fiction programmes, including Murder Maps which is currently airing on Yesterday and Netflix. For many years, it relied on a rolling credit facility to finance its programmes, but with the credit squeeze post-2008, Dominic Saville, Group CEO, was obliged to look elsewhere: “Whether you’re a large Hollywood studio or a smaller niche production company like ourselves, acquiring funding can be difficult,” he explains.
“Our customers (ie: the channels that buy our programmes) often have extended payment terms, and more than three quarters are overseas. So although these are billion dollar companies, our contracts require extensive due diligence and our bank was not comfortable with the risk.”
Dominic turned to F&P for support: “Not only has F&P helped in replacing our former banking facility, it has also become a strategic partner for growth. By independently assessing the value of our archive, F&P has secured several rounds of funding through their preferred P2P platforms, and continue to provide support and advice along the way.”
Despite the general perception that P2P is more expensive than other ‘traditional’ routes including private equity, Dominic says that he maintains control of the business and its future: “F&P has a superb understanding of our business and our customers,” he concludes.
“It is a relatively straight forward process, and we have built up a good relationship based on trust. We’ve established a well-oiled creative machine made possible by F&P’s sponsorship.”