Channel 4 confirmed on Wednesday that Leeds will be the location of its new National HQ and that Bristol and Glasgow will be the locations of its two new creative hubs.
Channel 4 announced its “4 All the UK” strategy in March 2018, the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history.
At the heart of the strategy is a significant increase in Channel 4’s Nations and Regions content spend – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250 million more in total.
Channel 4 said this increase will support up to 3,000 production jobs in the economy of the nations and regions.
“The new National HQ and Creative Hubs will be home to 300 Channel 4 jobs when fully established, including key creative decision makers – responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes from producers right across the UK,” said Channel 4.
“The new bases are at the heart of a new plan ‘4 All the UK’ to ensure that Channel 4 better represents all the UK, on and off-screen – and they will help catalyse the increased Nations and Regions production spend …
“Locating the National HQ in Leeds will enable Channel 4 to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector across the North of England – and further unlock the potential for growth in the underserved East and North-East of England.
“It is extremely well-positioned to be a base for collaboration with producers and creative talent across other cities including Bradford, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
“Leeds is home to a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool and this will help support Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit, which will be established in the National HQ to grow the Corporation’s impact across digital and social media platforms.
“Leeds also demonstrated a passionate commitment to work with Channel 4 to bring diverse new talent into the industry, working in partnership with other organisations and educational establishments – and through harnessing the diversity of different communities across the wider West Yorkshire region, such as Bradford.
“The Channel 4 Executive team and Channel 4 Board believed that Bristol and Glasgow best delivered against the vision and objectives set out for the new Creative Hubs.”
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Diversity and inclusion have always been at the heart of Channel 4’s mission and the launch of our 4 All the UK plan is the biggest and most exciting change in the organisation’s 36-year history – as we open up Channel 4 to people from across the UK and supercharge the impact we have in all parts of the country.
“We will be spending up to £250m more on programming produced in the Nations and Regions and to catalyse that spend I’m delighted to confirm that we will be establishing a new National HQ in Leeds and new Creative Hubs in Bristol and Glasgow.
“We undertook a rigorous process over the last seven months and the high calibre of all the pitches meant those were incredibly difficult decisions to make.
“However, I know that Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow will best deliver our objectives to grow the production sector across the UK, build the pipeline of creative talent outside London and support our increased investment in programming produced across the Nations and Regions.
“Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.
“Locating our National HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the North East and East of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.”