Channel 4 have confirmed that that Leeds will be the location of its new National HQ.
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 it is a significant increase in the organisation’s Nations and Regions content spend – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total.
This increase in Channel 4’s spend will benefit all areas of the UK, not just the specific locations and will support up to 3,000 production jobs in the nations and regions economy.
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.
Following a rigorous process which was set out publicly in April, detailed discussions were undertaken with all six cities over the last three months, led by Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan, alongside chief executive Alex Mahon.
Reed Smith were external advisors to the Channel 4 process to ensure it followed best practice and Deloitte LLP provided support to provide an objective framework and data for use in Channel 4’s assessment of the cities based on good practice. Following these discussions, a recommendation was made by Alex Mahon and the Channel 4 executive team, which was today approved by the Channel 4 board.
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.
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.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4 chief executive said: “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.
Further detailed work will now continue to identify locations and property within the National HQ and Creative Hub locations. It is envisaged that staff will begin to move to the new locations in the second half of 2019.