Yorkshire-based shopping centre TV gets backing to go national




Yorkshire-based Screen Network has secured a significant equity investment to roll out its television network service to shopping centres nationwide, following a successful pilot at The White Rose Centre in Leeds.

The equity investment secured by the company has been principally provided by Jim Walsh of the Commer Investment Fund, The Summit Group Ltd and Summit Alpha Ltd.

Screen Network, the trading name for Freelance Media Ltd, provides shoppers with continuous screen content, including local and national advertising, features, news and traffic information, on plasma and large LED screens, allowing local and national advertisers to reach potential customers close to point-of-sale and at very low cost.

Following the pilot at the White Rose Centre, the funding has been provided to enable Screen Network to roll out its service to a further seven shopping centres in the UK in 2003, increasing the network’s total audience to more than 2.5 million.

The Commer Investment Fund typically aims to invest between £250,000 and £500,000 in companies requiring development capital. Screen Network is the fund’s fourth major investment project in the last twelve months. Others include software company Nucleus Data, The Tadcaster Pub Company and the management buyout of Leeds-based Bullet Point Presentations Ltd.

The Summit Group is an independent venture capital business which provides seed and development capital to start-up or early stage businesses.

Jim Walsh, Chairman of the Commer Investment Fund, said: “We have been involved with Screen Network for some time and during this period we have been impressed by the company’s product, management and focus. We believe that there is due to be a significant change in the focus of the media industry and that Screen Network is now in a position to capitalise on these changes.”

Kit Hunter Gordon, Managing Director of The Summit Group, added: “The success of the White Rose pilot scheme confirms our belief in the viability and scalability of Screen Network’s service. We are confident that the combination of the product, the management team, and further funding with any external support we can provide will allow the business to capitalise on the strong start it has made. ”

John Harrison, managing director of Screen Network, said: “Until now the business has largely been funded by the company’s directors. However, in order to expand into the significant number of shopping centres we have identified, we now require funding beyond our own resources. “It is very difficult to find development capital of less than £1 million that is not either bank debt or from investors who require a day-to-day management role. We are very pleased, therefore, that Jim Walsh and The Summit Group have recognised the scalability of our proposition and are supporting us. As well as their capital input, both parties bring with them the benefit of their considerable business experience.”


Press information For further information, contact Amy Rotheram at Caboodlepr on 0113 227 0600/ email: amy@caboodlepr.co.uk

Notes to Editors

Screen Network is the trading name of Freelance Media Ltd, which was established in October 2001 by John Harrison to develop a new digital outdoor media format allowing the display of information in real time.

Ultimately, the company intends to develop a presence in up to 40 shopping sites, creating a national network throughout the UK to a weekly audience of more than 12 million.

The Summit Group is a London based, privately owned and independent venture capital business that provides seed and development capital to businesses that are usually at the early stages of their corporate life cycles.

Summit typically invests between £250,000 and £500,000 for a minimum of 20% of the voting rights of a business. Summit’s investments are typically in the Business Services, Outsourcing, Finance, Marketing, Software, Environmental, and Energy sectors. Summit invests both its own resources directly and through its 41.5% owned investment company, Summit Alpha, whose investments it manages.

Summit has no fixed timetable for exiting its investments. It aims to work in partnership with its investee companies to maximise the businesses’ potential by providing management and administrative support and access to the Group’s contacts, in order to allow the entrepreneurs to concentrate on what they do best.

At 31 March 2002 Summit’s investments were valued at approximately £14.5 million.

Summit Alpha
Kit Hunter Gordon

Zac Barratt

10 Cloisters House
8 Battersea Park Road

Email Address