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‘Vikings’ Seeks €25m Funding
29 Apr 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Accountancy firm Mazars and Clancy & Associates has been hired to raise €25m in Section 481 financing for the third series of ‘Vikings’, the History Channel’s hit drama which recently aired its first series on RTÉ Two. The scheme is expected to raise the biggest Section 481 funding for 2014.

Mazars and Clancy & Associates is a tax consultancy based in north Dublin. The firm was previously hired by Octagon Films to raise Section 481 funding for the upcoming series ‘Penny Dreadful’ (read the full story here), a Showtime production filmed in Ardmore Studios.

Through S.481, high-income tax-paying investors can earn returns of up to 20% within three months, thus making it a popular investment value. Individuals can put in up to €50,000. The producers of ‘Vikings’, which includes Shaw Media, Take 5 and Octagon films, would get an estimated benefit of €5.6m, courtesy of the exchequer. 80% of a project’s Irish production budget can be financed through the scheme.

The creator and writer of ‘Vikings’, Michael Hirst, executive produces the series with Morgan O’Sullivan (see an interview with O’Sullivan on the series here) of World 2000 Productions, John Weber of Take 5, with Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn and Sheila Hockin. The first two series of ‘Vikings’ were shot in Co. Wicklow with approximately 400 Irish people involved in their production. A number of key Irish professionals were involved in the production of ‘Vikings’ including director Ciarán Donnelly, Joan Bergin and IFTA-winning production designer Tom Conroy.

In Ireland, the average amount of viewers for the first eight episodes of the first season was 189,000. In the USA, Season 2 has averaged 3.4 million total viewers, 1.7 million adults aged 25-54 and 1.5 million adults aged 18-49, leading the Thursday 10pm slot in cable as well as being the History Channel’s most popular show. The third series of the drama will contain 10 episodes and start shooting this June based at Ashford Studios in Ballyhenry, Wicklow.

The investor-led Section 481 will be discontinued from 2016. A new tax credit system will then be put in place to support the industry.

Read more on Section 481 in IFTN’s guide.

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