Channel 4 gears for All 4 as it invests 20MN in UK indies

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 27 March 2015

In what is definitely a key period for the UK's fourth largest broadcaster, on the eve of rebranding its on-demand service, Channel 4 has made a new investment from its 20 million growth fund.

Channel 4 launched its growth fund in August 2014 with the aim of aiding the UK's buoyant independent sector by providing access to funding for small to medium-sized creative companies. Each investment was considered to evaluate whether there was a clear growth opportunity and its value to the wider UK creative industry, as well as being assessed for its commercial potential. All commercial returns derived from these investments will be used to bolster the corporation's investment in original content and new companies.

In this latest usage, Channel 4 will be taking a minority stake in young, up-and-coming indie Renowned Films to support its ambition to disrupt traditional broadcast media and create innovative factual entertainment and documentaries using emerging technology and platforms to tell fresh stories to young audiences. Renowned Films is currently in development with new series for BBC Three, ITV, MTV and 4Music.

renowned"Renowned Films are an exciting addition to our expanding growth fund investment portfolio," commented Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham. "[The company has] a passionate and ambitious team with an appetite to create compelling formats across both new and traditional media platforms to inspire young audiences globally. We're looking forward to working with this talented young indie to help push them to the next level."

Renowned Films co-founder Duane Jones added: "[We are] thrilled to start a new chapter in our development, bolstered by the support of Channel 4 ... The growth fund investment allows us to continue our mission to engage and entertain today's youth audience with the forward-thinking content they deserve."

Channel 4 has also signed a development partnership with factual and arts indie Brassneck TV. The company was set up by executive producer John Osborne in 2008 alongside filmmaker Don Letts and sports broadcaster Kelly Cates. "The development deal with Channel 4 is a really exciting opportunity for Brassneck," said Osborne. "It allows us to bring some more talented personnel on board to help develop our slate and win new business."

With more core business in mind, Channel 4 announced that the first release of its new All 4 digital service, which replaces 4oD on 30 March, will support PC, iPads and iPhones as well as TVs. The digital hub will host all of Channel 4's linear channels, digital content and other online services in one place including the latest addition of mobile live streaming for the first time. All these services will be provided in an increasingly personalised manner to Channel 4 registered users. The All 4 service will be extended to other digital platforms including Android across 2015.