TV3 studio names its price for €7m of Sony equipment
UNDER A deal that swaps naming rights for equipment, TV3’s new studio has been christened the Sony HD Studio Dublin, and the broadcaster is now hoping it’s a case of “if you build it, they will come”.
The broadcaster is in “advanced talks” with several UK producers about using the 500sq m (5,382sq ft) studio for both one-off editions of entertainment franchises and the filming of pilot shows.
TV3’s commercial director Pat Kiely says the deal, confirmed last week, will create jobs. The broadcaster has been “working closely” with Enterprise Ireland on plans to create an export market for television production. “The only block up to now has been the lack of a world class facility,” he says.
The broadcaster is also in discussions with Sony Music and other music labels about recording “an audience with...” style shows and other live performances.
The studio, which will become operational by the end of the year, will be the new home to TV3 shows such as Take Me Out Ireland, which up to now has been filmed at The Helix, while if The Apprentice ever returns to the channel, its You’re Fired spin-off will relocate from a Dublin nightclub to the studio.
TV3 will also commission a raft of new audience-based shows, while existing programmes such as Tonight with Vincent Browne may undergo occasional changes of format to allow a studio audience to participate – TV3’s existing studio has been too cramped to allow this to date.
As a result of the deal – an unusual one in terms of naming rights – around €7 million worth of Sony camera and editing equipment will be installed at TV3, which has already spent some €4-€5 million on the building of the studio opposite its Ballymount premises.
TV3 has spent the summer negotiating with Sony International about the technology partnership, without which it would have struggled to make the studio broadcast-ready.
TV3 chief executive David McRedmond recently joked at a media conference that he was “desperately” trying to equip the studio and that there would be “a collection on the way out”. Kiely says the negotiations brought him back to his “Mad Men pitch days” and that “we did have to sell the idea to Sony”.
In terms of its technological sophistication, TV3 says the Sony HD Studio Dublin will be “on a par” with ITV’s London Studios, the BBC’s Salford studios and the Fountain studios in Wembley, where The X Factor is filmed. “Our studio will offer similar facilities, but at a lower cost,” says Kiely.
As part of the naming rights agreement, every programme produced at the studio will feature a Sony sting in the closing credits, while it will also be verbally signalled in advance that the programme is being broadcast from Sony HD Studio Dublin.
Kiely believes the deal will give the Sony brand a high degree of exposure.
“While the O2 and the Aviva can be see by passing traffic, and we’re a little more tucked away, there is the opportunity to broadcast the Sony HD Studio name to a much larger audience,” he says.
“We would love for Sony HD Studio Dublin to become synonymous with big-event programming.”
A number of such big events will be scheduled for the studio’s launch, which will most likely take place in November.