Investing in Growing European Media Content Business
Creating success stories in TV, Film and Interactive media
Creating an impact on environmental, social and governance matters – IPR.VC ESG program 05.06.2019
In the age of growing threats to the environment and multitudes of social issues, also businesses need to carry responsibility towards the society. We at IPR.VC are committed to actively work to be a good corporate citizen.
We think that responsibility and business goals can support each other. Companies that have top-notch management tend to both deliver good financial profits and have their processes in a shape that support responsibility goals.
As a professional fund manager, we need to have – and are happy to have – a program in place for environmental, social and governance impact, or in short “ESG”. When making an investment decision, we assess the potential investment against a four-page ESG check list. The assessment can lead to a no-go, if there are principal discrepancies (this has happened once; we do not fund first-person shooter games). We may also present some preconditions for the investment.
Once a year we conduct an ESG query to all of our portfolio companies. On that basis we present portfolio companies guidance or requirements for concrete actions.
On the basis of this year’s ESG query we identified three key areas, where we will take concrete actions. The areas are diversity, anti-harassment and environmental footprint of film and TV production.
In the area of diversity, we are gathering data on gender balance (the next year we will add more dimension to diversity as well). In our portfolio companies 25% of managers and 12% of board members are female. While there is enhancement from the previous year, the numbers are still low. In our deal flow (500+ cases) the share of female contact persons is 14%. Thus, there seems not to be a visible bias in our decision-making process but for some reason the companies and projects that come to our deal flow are to a large extent managed by male-dominated teams. This is an area, where more understanding is needed.
Looking at boards of our portfolio companies, only five out of 13 companies have both female and male board members. We have decided to require those companies where we are shareholders that there must be both female and male board members. When we discuss diversity, we also need to see beyond the diversity statistics and aim at inclusive workplaces, where everyone has open opportunities not depending on her or his background.
The #metoo movement has led TV and film industries to work on programs and codes of conduct that address harassment issues. The issue has now been, finally, recognised. In our experience all TV and film companies are fully aware of the need of anti-harassment work, while in gaming industry some companies still need to pay more attention to this. In our ESG program we require our portfolio companies to officially commit to an anti-harassment program. Here, also, a program is just the beginning, they are the concrete actions in the workplaces that matter.
In the area of environmental impact of our portfolio companies, we recognise that the biggest footprint is caused by TV and film shootings. In our ESG query, while all portfolio companies articulate their good intentions to reduce their environmental footprint, none of them have in practice any processes in place. To our knowledge this reflects the general status of production companies. We have decided to open discussion with the key industry players and other financiers and, if needed, create an industry-wide initiative to start a work to reduce the environmental impact of our portfolio companies and the whole industry.
We at IPR.VC are committed to work with our ESG program and tools to create positive impact through our portfolio companies and the industries we are working in. We believe that this is good for our business but, most importantly, this is what makes our work valuable in the long run. As investors we are in a good position to create positive impact to the society.
A sector fund promotes drama content 14.03.2019
Article in Fund II anchor investor Tesi’s annual report 2018
Fund manager IPR.VC is looking for bold European drama productions for global distribution.
IPR.VC invests in the digital media content business in Europe through its two funds. A longstanding problem in the sector is the gulf between content producers and investors: production projects are accustomed to receiving their financing from TV channels and movie companies. Most VC investors invest in B2B technological platforms and software, and the real core of the sector – content – has been underserved.
Tanu-Matti Tuominen, a serial entrepreneur in digimedia, creative director and investor in technology, saw this as a market niche. He co-founded a company investing in content and a media-focused fund in autumn 2014 together with media management consultant and company director Timo Argillander and veteran venture investor Jarkko Virtanen.
“We challenge entrepreneurs to seek international success and new distribution platforms with their media content. New distribution platforms have widened viewers’ freedom of choice, and the demand for interesting multilingual content and media business have both grown strongly,” says Tuominen.
ENTERTAINMENT SERIES AND MOVIES. The second fund, to open in early 2019, will focus on the media production and licensing business from earlier investments. The fund’s target size is MEUR 60-70. Operations will expand, with a partner joining the enlarged team in London and consultants in Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen. The fund’s target size is MEUR 60-70. Its operations will expand.
“We’ll focus our activities in Fund II on TV and movie content as well as on new interactive content. Earning the trust of investors is the alpha and omega in the sector fund business, so we’re delighted to have Tesi as a key investor in our new fund. Tesi’s involvement gives our fund a quality guarantee. Other investors trust the screening conducted by Tesi, making it easier for them to join us,” says Argillander.
Read the whole article here.
Photo of Timo Argillander (left) and Tanu-Matti Tuominen by Junnu Lusa
Finnish TV Academy’s Best program of the year for large scale international TV series 25.09.2018
The team behind Love of the Wild, a TV series that was the first northern Finnish production to win Best program of the year, is making history once again. The same team that made Love of the Wild a success, is currently filming its international version Love of the Wild – From the Alps to the Arctic.A major party involved in the funding of the series is from IPR.VC.
The series is being filmed, as the title implies, from the Alps all the way to the Arctic areas of Europe, in five different European countries at the same time. The preparations for the series started in September 2017, and filming began in August 2018. The series will be in international distribution in 2020.
Äijä the dog to become an international star
The series presents the extremes of European nature, a natural way of life and people living in different cultures more impressively and extensively than any series before.
– We are filming in locations that are amazing and unique on a world scale. This is a whole new format and the series is created in 4K high definition technique according to the latest international quality standards, says Executive Producer Teemu Hostikka.
Because of the demanding filming locations, the series has hired, in addition to the experienced filming crew that worked on Love of the Wild, cameramen from Europe that are experienced in difficult and dangerous mountain conditions. The Finnish stars of the series are Aki Huhtanen, Emilia Laitinen and Äijä the dog, well known from the Finnish version. The new series follows their life in the gorgeous landscapes of Finnish Lapland.
– Finnish drama has taken major international steps in recent years. Nature related content is also one of our strengths, and Eränkävijät/Love of the Wild has a great opportunity to be the torch bearer in this development, says Director of Creative Content Ville Vilén from YLE.
Backed by well known investors and big names in the TV industry
The Finnish distribution rights to the series belong to Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, and the first season airs in the Spring of 2020. A major party involved in the funding of the series is private equity investor for media content, IPR.VC, which was impressed by the international potential of the series.
– Love of the Wild is an appealing and original series in which the creators’ true love for nature is conveyed to the viewer. We believe that the international version Love of the Wild – From the Alps to the Arctic will speak to viewers all over the world and bring success to both the production company and the investors of our fund, says Tanu-Matti Tuominen, partner and one of the founders of IPR.VC.
Love of the Wild – From the Alps to the Arctic is the largest undertaking so far for production company NTRNZ media Ltd, strongly headed for the international markets. The consultant for international sales for the series is Jorma Sairanen, the Grand Old Man of the TV Finnish industry. Sairanen realised the potential of Love of the Wild early on.
– IPR requested me to assess Finnish TV productions in the autumn of 2017, considering their international sales potential. Of the non-fiction productions being prepared at the time, Love of the Wild was a clear number one for me. The series has very good chances to be distributed internationally on TV-like platforms, says Jorma Sairanen.
The first two Finnish language seasons of the Golden Venla winner Love of the Wild have been sold to over 30 countries, and the third season premieres October 14th on YLE TV1 channel and YLE Areena streaming service.
For more information:
+358 45 639 8664,
Executive Producer / Showrunner
NTRNZ media Oy
Partner, Co-Founder / IPR.VC
+358 500 593001