Memorandum submitted by the London International
Development Corporation Ltd
1. In 1993, London International Development
Corporation Ltd ("LIDC") was established by British
television executives with the aim of using their expertise to
develop media-related projects in the emerging markets of Eastern
Europe and the former USSR. Areas of activity include film (co-productions,
development of film studio facilities and refurbishment of cinemas)
television (programme and sponsorship sales, facilities, technical
support, and setting up new terrestrial channels) and the Internet
(outsourcing of programming from the UK).
2. Two of the founder members of the management
team; Patrick Newman and Galina Slepneva previously worked at
Yorkshire Television in the early 1990s on a number of Russia-related
television projects which had received Know How Fund support in
the form of a pre-investment feasibility study. This early HMG
assistance is still paying dividends as LIDC is currently using
some of the Know How Fund expertise it acquired to assist the
company in planning its foreign direct investments in Uzbek television.
3. During the 1990s LIDC gained practical
experience of distribution across the former USSR in particular
the company developed cost effective methods of linking media
and distribution. Projects included introducing brands of British
food and drink products across the region. This activity received
support from the then Minister of Agriculture, The Right Hon Mr
4. LIDC exhibited at a number of trade fairs
in Russia in 1995-96. This was made posible by Department of Trade
and Industry financial support firstly for the East European Trade
Council which organised the British pavilion at the "Future
of Russia" exhibition at Nizhny Novgorod, and secondly
for Food from Britain which organised the British stands
at "World Food Fair" in Moscow 1995.
5. The company is committed to the sharing
of information and experience; LIDC Director Galina Slepneva has
been a guest speaker at a number of conferences to talk about
Russian customs issues. She has written numerous articles for
The European newspaper and trade press. Recognition of
her contribution was noted by Mr Dan Brennan, Editor of the Russo-British
Chamber of Commerce Bulletin and Russian Customs News: "Galina
Slepneva Director of London International Development Corp's contribution
to these two publications and by extension to British companies
doing business in Russia is an extremely valuable onethese
reflect regular feedback which I receive from readers of both
6. In spring 1997 the company reached agreement
with the Central Asia and Transcaucasia Desk of the Department
of Trade and Industry to participate in the Festival of Britain
in Uzbekistan. The DTI decided to promote British trade in Uzbekistan
by using a "cultural element" as part of the Festival.
As part of this approach of linking commercial and cultural elements,
the DTI paid some of LIDC's costs of taking a traditional puppet
play to Uzbekistan. This imaginative and cost effective idea received
a positive media response both in the UK (a front page article
which appeared in The Sunday Telegraph Business News in
August 1997) and in the Uzbek media.
7. LIDC not only exhibited at the Festival
of Britain stand in Tashkent but took the puppet show to Nukus
in Karakalpakia as well as to a number of special schools and
orphanages and the State Puppet Theatre in Tashkent. There was
a very positive response in Uzbekistan from local people and the
Mayor of Nukus. More than 3,000 children saw the show and the
success was in part because the shows were given in the local
language. The Uzbek Ambassador in London, His Excellency Fatihr
Teshabaev organised the translation of the show prior to the Festival.
8. The Uzbek Minister of Culture, Mr Djuraev
who opened the Festival of Britain on behalf of the Uzbek government,
visited the LIDC stand and formally invited the company to meet
him. Through this initial contact which has been sustained since
1997, LIDC is now undertaking the first British foreign direct
investment in the field of media and culture in Uzbekistan.
9. LIDC is currently organising the broadcast
of a weekly movie on Uzbek television (this includes translation
and dubbing of 52 feature films). It acts as the distributor of
The Economist newspaper and the agent for BBC World in
Uzbekistan for hotel distribution.
10. Film. Through a local company, LIDC
is in the process of making an investment in the state film studio.
The studio which was established in the 1930s has a library of
more than 300 films, a staff or more than 450, two stages (1,200m2
and 800m2), a dubbing theatre, construction and wardrobe workshops.
The studio still receives an annual government grant. LIDC is
marketing the studio to a number of British film companies interested
in shooting in Uzbekistan. Projects under development include
a Channel 4 drama, and a feature film of Christopher Marlowe's
"Tamburlaine" to be directed by Terry Hands,
starring Anthony Sher. This collaboration will benefit both British
and Uzbek employment in the film industry.
11. Television. In collaboration with the
studio LIDC is planning to apply with local partners for a licence
for terrestrial broadcast in Uzbekistan, and is currently in negotiations
with BBC Worldwide to provide news packages by satellite feed
for the new station.
12. The Company's activities in Uzbekistan
would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and professionalism
of the DTI's team on the Central Asia and Transcaucasia Desk.
In particular the Deputy Director, Mr John Slate, his colleagues
Mr Mike Essex and export promoter Mr Martin Banfield gave the
company invaluable assistance.
13. Although the FCO's role has not until
now been of great significance in the company's activities in
Central Asia, LIDC would welcome the opportunity of building a
closer relationship with the British Embassy in Tashkent.
14. Establishing a British Embassy Tashkent
website with links to trade and cultural sites of related interest
to Web visitors. (It is worth noting that the Embassy in Baku
does have a site, which plays "God Save the Queen" as
you enter the Home Page!)
15. Increasing the provision for language
training for students and business peopleBritish long-term
commercial interests would be served by increasing the number
of British students and business people with a working knowledge
of Central Asian languages. This can be achieved in a cost-effective
manner using distance learning over the Internet for employees
of companies interested in the region.