THE Thames Estuary Growth Board (TEGB) announced today it has hired strategic advisory firm MediaLink, an Ascential company, to handle a through-the-line analysis of the region’s digital landscape, which will support an explosion of development across the media, production, entertainment, leisure, energy, housing, river crossing, river freight, and education sectors and is expected to create 1.5 million new jobs by 2050 across the region.
The Thames Estuary Growth Board (TEGB) has launched a project plan, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, stretching along the Thames Estuary embracing South Essex, East London and North Kent – a geography of some 1,000 square miles and home to approximately 3.5 million people. The plan, backed by the UK Government and nineteen local authorities across the Thames Estuary, is targeting an increase of £115 billion by 2050 back into the UK economy as a result of private and public investment.
Thames Estuary Envoy Kate Willard OBE, who chairs the TEGB, said, “We are ambitious about catalysing excellent digital infrastructure in the Thames Estuary and accelerating investment in the right areas for the benefit of residents, workers and visitors. It is key to our action plan, ‘The Green Blue,’ and we are actively establishing the right partnerships to make that vision reality. MediaLink capably demonstrated the ability, experience, resources and capacity to deliver everything outlined in our project specification, and we look forward to working with them to achieve that aim.”
A robust digital infrastructure will serve as the foundation for all entities in the Thames Estuary region to experience successful economic, cultural, and commercial growth that aligns with “The Green Blue” initiatives as defined by the Board. MediaLink’s work will have an outsized impact on the growth, development and leadership status of the UK’s media and entertainment industries and is expected to help add 50,000 jobs in the creative economy. The work will contribute to the growth board’s work with the London Resort, which has had its development consent order recently approved by the UK government. It will also support the £3.7 billion economic programme to boost the creative industries underpinned by the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, which includes the building of more than 1,000,000 square feet of new film studios in Dagenham and Purfleet. In addition, the digital strategy will feed into all other aspects of the TEGB’s long-term plans, including the creation of a hydrogen facility and thousands of new homes.
“The scale of growth of the project that the TEGB has undertaken in the UK is enormous and unprecedented for both the post-COVID economy at large and for the vibrant future of the creative industry in the UK, with its strong ties to work in the US,” said Michael Kassan, Chairman and CEO of MediaLink. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to tap into the insights, strategic know-how and operator experience of our global team, leveraging their unparalleled understanding of media, marketing, entertainment and technology to create a digital infrastructure that hits the sweet spot of satisfying both commercial objectives and consumer needs. The challenge is ambitious, and we couldn’t be more excited to take it on.”
Ray Mia, lead on the TEGB’s digital infrastructure project and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor as well as President of Free Turn Audio and founder of Jacaranda Music Group, added, “We plan to build a new regional digital highway that will ensure local businesses can out compete regional and global rivals, creating a best-in-class work environment to meet the demands of future work-places, as well as the massive opportunities this will bring. Our goal for the creative industries is to build the foundations for industry-leading companies across a variety of sectors including film, television, fashion, theatre, dance, gaming and music – backed by gold-standard facilities, services and connectivity and plugged directly into an expanding global entertainment market.
“The work is not just about the creative industries – we have many sectors, industries and communities this work will benefit from. This is about skills training, routes to careers and place-building built on strong digital economies. It is very clear what our objectives are: scalability, sustainability and longevity. Kate’s vision is an outstanding idea of the future, and I know Michael and the MediaLink team are the ideal partners to put us on the map and on the global stage. We’re in a good place.”