We are Avanti

Avanti Media was founded in 1997 by Emyr Afan and Mair Davies.

The Company initially operated from the home of the Directors and after winning two S4C music series commission, they leased an office space in Rhiwbina, Cardiff. They occupied these premises for five years and enjoyed a healthy Wales portfolio mainly in the field of music, entertainment and events (‘Gwahoddiad’ and ‘Shan Cothi’ for S4C and ‘Damon Rochefort Tonight’ and ‘The Big Noise’ Event for BBC Wales). 

In 2000, the company embarked on the renovation of the Welsh Hills Works in Porth, an old corona soft drinks factory, and developed the concept of making pop of a different kind, naming it the Pop Factory. Sir Tom Jones not only opened the business, he waived his appearance fee in order to take a small stake in the business. Sir Tom Jones smashed a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock against the wall of the former Corona soft drinks factory and the Pop Factory was opened. 

Avanti History

The Factory went from the humble beginnings of a new valleys music venue to playing host to some of the music scene’s biggest names.

The premises offered state of the art studio space resulting in vast production and recording of music television facilities that coincided with the growth of Cool Cymru. This was the Company’s headquarters for the next 10 years in which it’s portfolio grew to include high volume children’s programming, (“Igi Tigi Bip a Bop”,“Popty” and “Stamina”), factual and shiny floor entertainment series such as ‘Y Sesiwn Hwyr,’ ‘This Way Up’, ‘The Pop Factory’ and music events production and programming such as Tom Jones in Cardiff Castle’, ‘The Full Ponty’, ‘Tom Jones in Ponty Park’, ‘Stereophonics at Morfa’ and ‘Manic Millenium’ – all for BBC Wales and ‘Faenol Festival’ for S4C,‘Wakestock’ for S4C and Channel 4. In 2005, Sir Tom made an emotional return to his home town when Emyr Afan asked him to sing live to 20,000-strong audience at Ponty Park, in sight of the terraced house in which he grew up.

Clever spotting, nurturing of ‘Talent’ relationships were embedded during this period and have continued to be characteristic of Avanti ever since – Jonathan Davies and Nigel Owens in sports entertainment series, Stereophonics, the later Stuart Cable, Katherine Jenkins and Manic Street Preachers in music entertainment and event programming, and most famously – ‘Tom Jones, Steve Jones, Alex Jones, Gethin Jones’ – anyone who is a Jones!

Following an exponential growth due to all of the above together with the winning of several BAFTA and Celtic Film Festival Award, Welsh Innovation Company of the Year, and Mair Davies’ winning of The Welsh Woman of the Year in Media, the Company decided to focus on its core strengths by winning three main longer running strands; ‘Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol’ (which is the Welsh ‘Songs of Praise’) ‘Jonathan’ and the ‘Urdd Eisteddfod’.

Avanti embarked on a future out of the factory, and relocated to new production premises in Cardiff in 2010. 

The exceptional track record of the S4C weekly Sunday night religious strand gave the Company the perfect spring board in winning BBC Network tender for three Welsh programmes within the Songs of Praise BBC weekly Sunday night religious strand. The most recently aired programme was presented by Bear Grylls, with ratings 10% over the programme’s average market share.

The Company has seen stable annual commissions from BBC Wales mainly drawing on talent relationships and narrative documentary skills such as “Jonathan - Trimsaran Boy”,“Karl Jenkins”, “Donny Comes Home - The Concert”, and “Tom Jones, A Boy From Nowhere?”, “Jamie Baulch, Finding my Birth Mother” and “The Search for my Birth Dad”.,“The John Hartson Story”,“Hayley and the Hoff”,“Connie - I’ll Sing Once More”, “Jonathan Meets....” “What Shane Did Next?”,“Being Mike Peters”,“Being Katherine Jenkins”,“Nigel Owens,True to Myself”.

Further commissions have come from the progressive development of existing sports entertainment programming such as ”Munud i Fynd”, now “Wyt ti’n Gem?” which derives from a catchphrase on “Jonathan” and which is presented by international rugby referee and stand up comedian Nigel Owens and the ‘6 Nations Quiz’. Also the winning of S4C/ Sony’s Format Farm with the “Model Farmer/Builder/Mechanic.....” brand and “Birthday Cake Battles”.

In 2017 Avanti celebrated it’s twentieth anniversary. Twenty years of work carried out by the husband and wife founders’, Emyr and Mair Afan, brings general track record and vision firmly based in maturity of programming making, numerous awards and vast experience and intelligence of the industry.

Avanti Today

2017 has been a year of creative and business renewal at Avanti Media. We have transformed the business from a predominantly Welsh nation indie to an established U.K. network supplier of quality factual and entertainment content.

In March 2017, Avanti Media won the first BBC tender (post-charter-renewal) to be granted to a UK indie, Songs of Praise. Winning this £12million, 3-year, contract surprised many in the industry, not only because this was the first of the tenders to move outside the BBC, but also because Avanti was not an established, metropolitan super-indie. AVANTI won the bid as lead partner, alongside our chosen production partners Nine Lives Media in Manchester.

In February 2017, Avanti Media hired Neil Grant, Executive Producer of BAFTA & multi-award-winning series The Murder Detectives. This significant hire has allowed us to supercharge our network development and expand our factual remit. In the first six months of Neil's tenure at Avanti, we have won a number of high profile network commissions:

Paras Ready for War in production for ITV, is a unique access doc series, which required us to establish significant levels of trust from both ITV and the elite regiment to secure access.

The People's Hour in production for BBC Wales, is a brand new franchise for BBC Wales, a weekly studio-based current affairs series. This commission epitomises the new creative remit of the business, in that the journalistic rigour of Neil Grant, is complemented by the creative flair and innovation of Avanti's CEO and Co-Founder, Emyr Afan.

In June, we supplied Channel 4 with our first fast-turnaround current affairs documentary for Dispatches. How to a British Passport was a timely and prescient documentary about hundreds of thousands of passport-less children being thrown into a legal limbo in the wake of Brexit. It also championed a diverse new C4 presenter, Datshi Navanayagam.

The Story of the Mary Rose, in production for Channel 4, is our first specialist factual commission, a ground- breaking CGI-based single, that charts the lives of the crew and passengers of the ill-fated ship.

We have just won the tender for 2017 MOBO Music Awards, which takes place in Leeds First Direct Arena, and will be broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK and BT Her worldwide. This commission also reflects our strength in entertainment and diversity programming.

Our People

Avanti employ a team of strong creative and technical personnel who come from varied backgrounds in broadcast, web production and technical support.

Meet the team
Our People