Channel 4 spreads activities across UK
| 09 March 2018

In its most significant corporate shake-up since it began life in 1982, the UK’s fourth largest broadcaster Channel 4 is to establish a new national HQ outside London, as well as two new smaller creative hubs.

At the heart of what is called the 4 All the UK strategy is a major new commitment from Channel 4 to significantly increase its commitment to what it calls Nations & Regions – that is anything outside the traditional media powerhouse of London.

The new HQ — whose exact location is yet to be decided — will be established in the Nations & Regions in 2019 and will be home to 300 Channel 4 jobs, including key creative decision-makers, with the intention to grow over time.

Programme commissioning editors overseeing significant budget and with responsibility for some of Channel 4’s biggest shows will be based across the three new creative hubs – alongside a variety of other creative and business functions. The largest of the creative hubs will be known as Channel 4’s National HQ – and will regularly host Channel 4 executive and board meetings – alongside Horseferry Road as Channel 4’s London HQ.

Channel 4 News will also expand its footprint in the Nations & Regions, opening new bureaux in a bid to become the first peak-time UK news programme to co-anchor from both London and the Nations & Regions from 2020. In partnership with ITN, the programme will establish three new Channel 4 News bureaux, with one becoming a major hub with a studio, digital and commissioning centre, tripling the number of jobs based in the Nations & Regions by 2020.

Regional content spend will increase from its current quota of 35% to a new voluntary target of 50% by 2023. This, says Channel 4, will result in a cumulative boost of over £250 million in its Nations & Regions commissioning spend and is said to reflect both external analysis and feedback from the industry that increasing spend would have the greatest impact on regional economies and jobs.

Channel 4 has begun a process in which cities and regions across the UK can pitch to become the home of the new Channel 4 creative hubs – with the aim that a decision on the location of the hubs will be made in Q3 2018. Channel 4 executive board member Jonathan Allan will take on lead executive responsibility, working closely with chief executive Alex Mahon, for delivering the 4 All the UK strategy – including leading the pitch process for the new creative hub locations.

The 4 All the UK strategy has been fully approved by the Channel 4 board. Commenting on the move, Mahon said: “As a public service broadcaster with diversity in its DNA, Channel 4 has a unique ability to reflect our society. This is a significant and exciting moment of change for Channel 4 as we evolve to ensure we are best suited to serve all of the UK. With this new strategy we will go even further to make sure that people right across the UK are represented on screen and in the make-up of our own organisation – and it will also build on what we already do to support creative businesses, jobs and economies in the Nations & Regions.”