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Isle of Media, CEO, Michael Wilson recently spoke to the Royal Television Society. In the article below he talks about Isle of Media, Isle of Man and it’s media business.

Isle of Media, Royal Television Society Logo

Michael Wilson - Isle of Media New CEOOver the years I think I’ve written three of these columns – I’ve been a ”Friend” in various places. Now as the nomad here is the fourth locations – A Friend in the Middle of the Irish Sea, although I suspect the headline will say “A Friend on the Isle of Man”.

Until the beginning of this year, the Isle of Man was shorthand for “I’m almost home…” as on my many flights back to Belfast or Dublin, when the pilot said we were just passing over the Isle of Man, then I knew landing was a matter of minutes away.

I reckon over the many years based on the island of Ireland but with HQ or regulator in London, I must have flown over the island more than 800 times, but not thought once about it!

That changed in January, when I became the CEO of Isle of Media – the public private partnership aiming to make the island a Media Hub.  (yes, really!) I like a professional challenge and I thought this would be at the top end of the scale – why would any media company uproot from established bases and networks and set up quite frankly in the middle of no-where.

While I’m still getting to know the island – as far as I can see there is no Greggs or Nando’s (I have found a Starbys and Costa), no Pret and not one mile of motorway on the whole 30 miles long island, which in its entirety is a UNESCO Biosphere.

Well actually all the reasons above are good reasons – many business (and especially their owners) want a move to a place where you know the name of the barista, and they know yours without writing it on a paper-cup. The restaurants are varied and owned often by the chief and cook with locally sourced ingredients. And with miles of beach, glen, tramway, steam trains to commute on and no speed limit on open roads, it’s a place for family and maverick alike. (The Island even has its own fairies – honest!)

And – I’ve even made it half way through the article without mentioning the tax rate. 0% Corporation Tax, 0% Capital Gains Tax, and a maximum person taxation rate of 20%. While Panorama painted a different picture, officially the Isle of Man is “white listed” by the OECD for good practice and transparency, so event your corporate governance teams can’t complain!

So how do we create a Media Cluster out of nothing – well that’s another misunderstanding – already on the island we have a serious media hub. At one point the Isle of Man was one of the British Isles busiest locations with more than 100 movies and TV shows filmed here, and we are now transitioning to now transitioning to a production, digital media and technology hub – from film we inherited a large creative talent base.

Greenlight, who make motorsport of international audiences including the TT Races for ITV4 and road racing for the BBC.

Mark Rowland’s Formatzone now has an outpost on the Island, as well as in Birmingham – its latest production Laurence of Suburbia being distributed by Sky Vision is beginning its international roll-out with the series on air in NZ, Poland, South Africa.

Motorsports Television have just invested in Duke Media in a major deal bringing the Duke archive to a global audience.

It’s not just productions though – SES Satellite Leasing have just built a teleport, Media Tech Advertising work across the world and Manx Telecom support an IP based tv news service.

A major facilities business is about to announce its arrival to cater for the growing business and to import post projects.

Plus, in the pipeline are an amazing media tech business, a number of animation projects and we are looking to become a major eSports base (to compliment the existing gaming businesses the flourish on the Island)

Oh, and in the almost final paragraph I mention money – we even have incentives to deliver businesses to the island – multimillion pound Government grants and funds, media savvy Angel investors and a business focussed regulatory and governmental environment.

Just like me, you may never have thought about the Isle of Man for media business, but we can all be wrong (occasionally)!

 

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