Thursday, 6th September 2012
GBC partnership deal signed, staff briefed
by Dominique Searle
Gibraltar Entertainment Network, a company formed in Gibraltar last Friday with well-known UK television writer Kim Fuller amongst its directors, will be part of the arrangement pursued by the Gibraltar Government to try to give the local public service broadcaster GBC a fresh start.
Best known for his work on ‘Not the Nine O’clock News’, ‘Red Dwarf’ and ‘Spitting Image’, Mr Fuller will be one of the directors of the new joint venture company involving GBC in an arms-length deal, the corporation declared yesterday on its website. Another of the directors will be Anna George whose partner was Led Zeppelin’s manager, as well as
that of Bad Company, Maggie Bell and the Yardbirds.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo called at Broadcasting House, South Barrack Road yesterday to update staff on the future of GBC. This followed a signing of an agreement last week with Rightful Media a company which includes several directors who are also directors in another Gibraltar headquartered company Personalbest and include Andrew Smith, Non Executive Chairman and with considerable experience in global asset management for leading entities, media sales manager Brendan Golt, Anna George and Trudi Faulkner the Operations Director.
Mr Picardo explained the new commercial arrangements, which will see the Corporation owning a 50 percent share in the Gibraltar Entertainment Network, and developing new studio complexes in Europa Point, possibly by 2015, said GBC. It is understood the studios will be built in the area of the firing range and ahead of that a music recording studio will be set up in one of the former MoD properties in the area. A Government spokesman also confirmed that plans for the UEFA stadium would include the facility’s use for mega-concerts.
GBC said that Mr Picardo reiterated his Budget speech message that the future of GBC must lie away from public funding. This business model will see GBC teaming up with what GBC described as a UK entertainment company, Rightful Media to co-own the Gibraltar Entertainment Network, and taking advantage of Gibraltar’s beneficial tax status to attract major productions to film and record in Gibraltar, it said. The UK company That company was founded on 06 Jul 2009 with its registered office in Worcester. There is also a local company Rightful Media (Gibraltar) Ltd.
According to GBC this project will take place in a new, built-for-purpose studio complex at Europa Point, staffed by GEN, and which may also provide cross-over opportunities for GBC staff. GBC itself will move, as has already been announced, to a refurbished Ince’s Hall. GEN’s newly formed board of directors will meet, for the first time, in Gibraltar this week. These will include Broadcasting Writer Kim Fuller, and Anna George, as well as GBC’s own CEO designate Gerard Teuma. GBC quotes Mr Teuma as stating that the contacts in the media industry generated by Rightful Media are already yielding major dividends, and order books are filling up. But GEN, and the new GBC, will not be fully operational for some time yet, as the estimate time of completion for the construction projects has been set at the end of 2015.
The Chief Minister reportedly told GBC staff that interim measures were already under way to address historic staff grievances, and patch up the decaying premises at South Barrack Road. He also outlined the emergency measures which had to be implemented in order to get GBC ready for the digital switchover at the end of this year. The Chronicle understands that this will lead to digital output soon, to meet EU requirements, but that the analog production will continue for some time.