Whisper Films becomes latest to enjoy Channel 4 investment
| 14 August 2015
The UK's fourth largest broadcaster Channel 4 has opened its wallet again in the indie sector, taking a minority stake in sports production company Whisper Films.
Set up in 2010 by Sunil Patel, former Formula One driver David Coulthard and Jake Humphrey, Whisper Films has built a slate of sports-related programming including films for global brands within Formula One such as Red Bull, UBS, Shell, Casio and Hugo Boss; several short films for the BBC; highlights programming for ITV; a one-off documentary for BBC One; and two international documentaries, placed with networks including NBC, Sky Atlantic and BBC World.
The indie arena is the latest beneficiary of Channel 4's growth fund and will now hire a new head of television and a small development team to leverage the company's extensive contacts and develop the TV production arm of the business.
Channel 4's £20 million growth fund was established to support the UK independent production sector outside of the normal commissioning cycle by providing access to funding for small to medium-sized creative companies. With Whisper, Channel 4 has now invested in eight companies since the fund's launch in 2014. The growth fund investment portfolio also includes Arrow Media, Eleven Film, Lightbox, Popkorn, Renowned Films, True North and Voltage TV.
Commenting on why his company chose Whisper as an investment opportunity, David Abraham, chief executive at Channel 4, said: "Sports production is an important part of the industry and I'm excited that we're making our first growth fund investment in this area. Whisper is a highly creative and well connected company that makes incredibly high end sports programming through its branded content division. We're looking forward to working with Sunil, David and Jake to help them continue to grow their business as they develop their ambitions to move into TV production."
Whisper Films has recently relocated to larger premises in London in preparation of expanding its operation. Speaking on behalf of the company, Patel added: "Our partnership with Channel 4 is a fantastic springboard to showcase Whisper Films' collective experience, creativity and enthusiasm to the broadcast world. We can't wait to get started on expanding our business to excel in new genres and nurture our valued reputation for distinctive sport and branded content to achieve significant growth in the years to come."