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Channel 4 takes stake in sports indie

UK pubcaster Channel 4 has taken a minority stake in sports indie Whisper Films as part of its Growth Fund investment drive.
August 13, 2015

UK pubcaster Channel 4 has taken a minority stake in sports indie Whisper Films as part of its Growth Fund investment drive.

Launched in 2010, Whisper Films has produced sports-related programming for such brands as Red Bull, UBS and Shell, as well as a one-off BBC1 doc, Racing With The Hamiltons: Nic In The Driving Seatand Horse Power, a documentary that aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

The investment is part of the British pubcaster’s £20 million (US$31.3 million) Growth Fund, which it launched in 2014 to help grow small- to medium-sized creative companies in the UK. C4 has so far invested in eight companies, including Arrow Media, Eleven Film, Lightbox, Popkorn, Renowned Films, True North and Voltage TV.

Following this latest deal, Whisper Films will hire a new head of television and create a small development team to boost the company’s TV production arm. The company has also relocated to a larger headquarters in London ahead of its forthcoming expansion.

Whisper Films founders include former BBC Sport producer Sunil Patel, Formula 1 race driver-turned-BBC Sport commentator David Coulthard and TV presenter and journalist Jake Humphrey.

“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,” said David Abraham, chief executive at Channel 4, in a statement. “Whisper is a highly creative and well-connected company that makes incredibly high-end sports programming through its branded content division.”

Channel 4 is continuing to accept Growth Fund submissions from independent producers.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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