Big picture for Screen Network

Big picture for Screen Network

Screen Network has attracted an investment of £500,000 to fund the national roll-out of its shopping centre television service. The Leeds-based firm, which has just completed a pilot run at The White Rose Shopping Centre near Tingley, has secured funds from London venture capital firm The Summit Group and the Commer Investment Fund, headed by Tadcaster pub chain entrepreneur Jim Walsh.

Screen Network provides local and national advertising, features, news and traffic information on plasma and large LED screens.

It plans to extend the service to a further seven shopping centres in the UK this year, which it said will give it a potential audience of more than two-and-a-half million shoppers.

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.”

He added: “It is very difficult to find development capital of less than £1m that is not either bank debt or from investors who require a day-to-day management role.”

It represents the fourth investment for Jim Walsh’s fledgling venture capital firm which has been bankrolled by the £19m he raised by selling his Commer Inns pub chain to the Punch Group at the end of 2001.

He has already invested around £4m building another pub group, the Tadcaster Pub Company, and plans to spend £2m developing software firm Nucleus Data, which he bought from the Leeds fruit machines group Kunick in October.

In November, he backed the £2m management buy-out of Leeds-based school supplier Bullet Point Presentations.

By James Graham

Yorkshire Post 25/01/03
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