Me­dia con­tin­ues mak­ing mark in state

Bri­tish com­pany the lat­est to choose South­west­ern Con­necti­cut

The News-Times - - BUSINESS - By Paul Schott On­go­ing growth; 203-964-2236; Twit­ter: @paulschott

The re­gion’s rep­u­ta­tion as a hub for me­dia com­pa­nies has broad­cast across the At­lantic.

Tran­scrip­tion, trans­la­tion and cap­tion­ing com­pany Take 1 has ex­panded from its south­east Eng­land head­quar­ters, tak­ing space last month within the of­fices of re­al­ity-show pro­ducer ITV Amer­ica, at 850 Canal St., in Stam­ford’s South End. Take 1’s ar­rival un­der­scores the emer­gence of film, tele­vi­sion and dig­i­tal me­dia as one of south­west­ern Con­necti­cut’s most promis­ing sec­tors and the im­por­tance of state sub­si­dies in re­cruit­ing such firms.

“Stam­ford is strate­gi­cally lo­cated, and it’s close to New York,” Louise Tapia, CEO and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Take 1, said in an in­ter­view last week at 850 Canal. “A lot of in­ter­est­ing me­dia com­pa­nies are based here. It ticks all the boxes.”

The com­pany plans to use a state pro­gram that would al­low el­i­gi­ble com­pa­nies with which it part­ners to claim tax cred­its of up to 30 per­cent on cer­tain Con­necti­cut-based ex­penses.

“A big rea­son why we’re here is to en­gage with those clients and make them aware of Take 1 and how they can ben­e­fit from the tax break and our ser­vice,” Tapia said.

In the 2017 fis­cal year, the state Depart­ment of Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment al­lot­ted a to­tal of about $86 mil­lion in tax cred­its to 26 pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies. The same num­ber of firms spent a to­tal of about $296 mil­lion in the state that year.

“We’re thrilled about the ar­rival of a com­pany like Take 1,” said Ge­orge Nor­fleet, di­rec­tor of the state film of­fice, which is part of DECD. “It’s a tes­ta­ment to the fact that the tax in­cen­tives are do­ing ex­actly what they’re sup­posed to do, which is to help re­cruit com­pa­nies from out­side Con­necti­cut, whether they are based in other parts the U.S., or based in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

Take 1 has done busi­ness in the Amer­i­cas for 10 years, with a client list in­clud­ing ITV Amer­ica, NBCUniver­sal, Na­tional Geo­graphic, TruTV and Dis­cov­ery Net­works. It also runs of­fices in Los An­ge­les and San­ti­ago, Chile.

The firm touts its Amer­i­can-based con­tin­gent’s abil­ity to pro­vide overnight “turn­around” ser­vices that are sup­ported by its in­ter­na­tional pres­ence.

Its head­quar­ters are in the town of Cran­brook, about 50 miles south­east of Lon­don.

In to­tal, Take 1 em­ploys about 50 full-time, as well as ap­prox­i­mately 170 free­lance tran­scribers and more than 200 free­lance trans­la­tors. The firm is hir­ing for the Stam­ford of­fice.

Take 1’s move-in to 850 Canal fol­lows the open­ing last year of ITV Amer­ica’s of­fices in the same build­ing.

ITV Amer­ica de­scribes it­self as the largest in­de­pen­dent non-scripted pro­ducer in the U.S. Its show port­fo­lio in­cludes “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The Four” on Fox; “Pawn Stars” and “Alone” on His­tory; “Fixer Up­per” on HGTV; “Real Housewives of New Jersey” on Bravo; and “Queer Eye” on Net­flix.

Con­necti­cut’s film, TV and dig­i­tal me­dia in­dus­try has gained mo­men­tum in the past few years.

In late May, ITV Amer­ica and startup Wheel­house En­ter­tain­ment an­nounced they planned to cre­ate about 450 jobs in the city dur­ing the next few years.

ITV and Wheel­house plan to open a pro­duc­tion and post-pro­duc­tion com­plex in a va­cant 90,000square-foot build­ing at 860 Canal St., yards from 850 Canal. The struc­ture at 860 Canal has been gut­ted ahead of its build-out for the new op­er­a­tions.

The state is sup­port­ing the project with a $6 mil­lion loan to ITV Amer­ica and a $3 mil­lion loan to Wheel­house En­ter­tain­ment. Par­tial loan for­give­ness would be pos­si­ble if cer­tain job tar­gets were met.

“It’s a great sign when a com­pany like ITV says it will con­sol­i­date a bunch of its op­er­a­tions in Con­necti­cut,” Cather­ine Smith, the state’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment com­mis­sioner, said in an in­ter­view when the com­pany’s deal was an­nounced. “This is a good in­di­ca­tor that we have the right ta­lent and lo­ca­tion. We’ve al­ways felt dig­i­tal me­dia had a place in the state.”

To­day, Con­necti­cut is home to more than 1,200 me­dia-re­lated busi­nesses that em­ploy more than 16,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to state data.

Among other me­dia com­pa­nies based in Stam­ford, NBC Sports Group and WWE are head­quar­tered on the city’s East Side.

NBC Sports has its own in­cen­tives deal, sup­port­ing the 2013 open­ing of its 300,000-square-foot com­plex at 1 Blach­ley Road. Its agree­ment with the state al­lot­ted loans of ap­prox­i­mately $26 mil­lion. The firm em­ploys about 800 in Con­necti­cut, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent state data.

A num­ber of pro­duc­tion cen­ters op­er­ate else­where in the city, in­clud­ing hubs at the Ship­pan Land­ing com­plex in the city’s Ship­pan sec­tion, and on the West Side, near Stam­ford Hos­pi­tal.

Else­where in the area, Blue Sky Stu­dios — the an­i­ma­tion firm be­hind hits such as “Ice Age,” “The Peanuts Movie” and “Rio” — is based in back­coun­try Greenwich. It has op­er­ated in the town since mov­ing in 2009 from White Plains, N.Y., in 2009, spurred by its own mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pack­age of state sub­si­dies. About 500 work at the Greenwich head­quar­ters.

“Com­pa­nies are com­ing here and cre­at­ing jobs,” Nor­fleet said. “The more com­pa­nies that come, the more com­pa­nies that will want to come.”

David Merewether / Con­tributed photo

Tran­scrip­tion and trans­la­tion com­pany Take 1, which is head­quar­tered in Cran­brook, Eng­land, seen here, has opened an of­fice at 850 Canal St. in Stam­ford.

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