SOCIAL FINANCE AND LAS VEGAS : A WORLD APART OR ARE THEY?


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Peter Savage draws parallels between funding for social benefit and the razzamatazz of NAB in Las Vegas.
Last month we discussed crowdfunding in the context of TV and film production. It’s funding again this month because, during our ‘Look, Listen, Experience’ speaking tour, several people asked me whether social and/or community funding are potential sources of credit for businesses in our industry. It would be wrong, though, to ignore the NAB Show in Vegas so I’ve included a summary about that. First, funding…
Social and community funding basics
Social and/or community funding is arranged by community development finance institutions (CDFIs) which are part of the Community Development Funding Association (CDFA). (That’s enough acronyms!)
CDFIs lend money to businesses, social enterprises and individuals who struggle to get finance from high street banks and loan companies. Their main focus is on deprived communities – particularly in the north and northwest. Indeed, half the money that is lent via CDFIs is distributed in those regions.
The stats show that, in the UK at the end of 2010, the CDFA had 66 members lending through 175 branches. Their collective loan portfolio stood at £531m plus they helped to leverage an additional £600m of loans from mainstream finance. So cumulatively they have helped to raise about £1 billion in loan facilities. And last year, they made 19,000 loans, totalling £200m.
The CDFA’s helpful and informative website (http://www.cdfa.org.uk) lists its members, with contact details, and I recommend it as a starting point if you are looking to apply for this form of credit.
What sorts of loans?
So, where do CDFIs fit into the credit equation? They predominantly sit in the market for micro credits. If you want borrow under £15,000, and have been turned down by banks and other mainstream institutions, and if your business idea will help employ people or has a social or community benefit, then try a CDFI. However, without harping on yet again about the importance of business planning, it is a fact that having a decent business plan is often what unlocks the credit. Make sure that you give it your best shot, by having a credible and coherent plan showing how you will make that cash work, whoever you are applying to for credit.
The most successful social funding project ever …
Now onto my report on the world’s most famous bi-product of one of the largest ever social funding projects. Borne out of the Great Depression of 1929 (and, no, I wasn’t around then), the Hoover Dam (built to control floods, provide irrigation and produce hydroelectric power) created jobs for thousands of people – and led directly to the creation of Las Vegas, home of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual convention, now officially known as the Nab Show. It’s the second largest conference in Vegas with 100,000 delegates and it generates over US$100m of revenue for the city – outside the conference doors.
Yes, NAB in Vegas was, as ever, full of razzamatazz with a resurgence of exhibitor parties and a feeling that the US and, indeed, the broadcast industry are certainly not in a double dip recession.
No 3D queasiness
It was the first time in three years that I didn’t end up feeling queasy from a proliferation of 3D demonstrations. It is bad enough with jet lag, late nights and alcohol but, when all the manufacturers were showing 3D, it really did make for a nauseous affair.
From my point of view, 3D has thankfully been pushed into the background as non-mainstream and the general theme seems to be the very competitive market in camera acquisition. Many words have been written about Blackmagic Design launching its cinema camera but, in reality, this year’s show demonstrated that the market is in a strong position, with enormous choice for the cameraman.
Simple is best
Formats need to settle down, though, as we see 2k, 4k, 5k and even 6k being bandied about. Many manufacturers seem to forget that, irrespective of the amount of information their cameras can capture, what matters most is how people manage their workflow. The leaders in this market are those manufacturers who demonstrate how to capture perfect images, rather than purely demonstrating how much information can be captured. It’s a simplistic view but remember that simple is best and, for many people like myself, the technical specifications are no better than equal to, and are probably secondary to, having a proven and workable workflow. Now where have you heard that before?
Don’t double dip
So, NAB was more of the same and that’s true, it seems, for the summer that is supposedly now upon us . The coming of the Olympics means more of the same – and perhaps that also means we in broadcast won’t suffer from double dip.
If you would like more information on finance for your business, do email me on peter.savage@azule.co.uk and/or write to the TV Bay editor. For more information about us, or to read other articles in this series, look at our website: www.azule.co.uk.

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