Media Cymru: a £50m investment in world-first innovation

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October’s launch of Media Cymru at the National Museum in Cardiff was more than the celebration of a unique collaboration designed to accelerate growth in the media sector of Southeast Wales.

It unveiled a £50m world-first commitment to supercharging innovation across an emerging creative powerhouse – with this Cardiff Capital Region-based sector seen by many as a world-leader-in-waiting, given the ever-growing number of Oscars, Bafta’s and Emmy’s already sat on the shelves of the highly-diverse SMEs that together make up the third largest media cluster in the UK.  

The biggest of ambitions for small-medium enterprises

Led by Cardiff University, the groundbreaking Media Cymru strategic investment programme brings together 23 media production, broadcast, technology, university and local leadership partners, for the very first time.

And the nature of the funding is as extraordinary as Media Cymru  itself – with £22m provided through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund, £3m from Cardiff Capital Region and £2m from the Creative Wales arm of the Welsh Government, match-funded by a further £23m from universities and industry partners.

The vision? In the words of Justin Lewis, Director of Media Cymru:

“The programme is here to make the Cardiff Capital Region a global hub for media innovation, giving SMEs and start-ups the opportunity to collaborate and innovate, supporting the development of a world-class media sector – here in Wales – that inspires the world.”  

Such size, scale – and boldness – of investment reflects the spirit and confidence of a Region that has developed one of the strongest media sector growth rates in the UK, attracting 1-in-8 of all new UK jobs in film and television since 2006, producing global successes that include A Discovery of Witches, Doctor Who, Dream Horse, His Dark Materials, Sex Education, Sherlock, and The War of the Worlds.   

That vibrancy and critical mass has created a momentum for Media Cymru to focus investment in the Region’s digital infrastructure, embracing emerging technologies, increasing small businesses’ capacity to innovate – and building the skillsets that underpin any world-class cluster – positioning CCR’s media sector as a testbed for new content, approaches and formats that solve challenges and open up opportunities.    

A testbed for new content, approaches and formats - generating inclusive and sustainable economic growth

The Media Cymru programme champions growth that’s green, fair and aligned to Welsh Government’sWellbeing of Future Generations approach – with the declared ambition to nurture media innovations that deliver an additional £236m GVA by 2026, generating the inclusive and sustainable economic development that is at the heart of ‘good growth.’

There are three main strands of activity dedicated to achieving those goals, with Media Cymru offering ‘work packages’ centred on providing game-changing research, development and innovation (R,D&I) opportunities for media and wider creative industry businesses operating in the CCR and beyond.  

To that end, the programme’s Future Production & Digital Infrastructure activity is focused on building digital infrastructure, developing emerging technologies and shaping the spaces that are so important for creative innovation, while the Future Capabilities strand will address future skills needs as well as empowering the research and development to create new products, services and experiences, ready for market.

The third strand, Challenge-driven Innovation Projects, is dedicated to bringing together a wide spectrum of partners capable of providing solutions to challenges and opportunities in sustainability, bilingual production, diversity and inclusion, tourism and technology – reflecting the passion and appetite for collaboration that sits at the centre of this pioneering programme. 

With funding, training and taster opportunities being made available from this month (November 2022), we’ll be running a series of articles discovering the views and ambitions of the Media Cymru team – beginning with our next feature, which explores the thoughts and insights of Justin Lewis, Director of Media Cymru

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The launch of Media Cymru gave birth to a five year programme focused on making CCR a global hub of innovation. But what is the vision - and who are the team - behind it?

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