British pubcaster Channel 4 is opening a new national headquarters and two smaller creative hubs outside of London to bolster an amplified commissioning spend within the UK.
The move is part of its “4 All the UK” strategy, which aims to ensure C4 is serving the whole of the UK.
At the heart of the initiative is an increase in C4′s Nations & Regions content spend, injecting more than US$345.7 million (£250 million), from 35% to 50%, into main channel UK commissions by 2023.
Supporting the spending increase across the UK will be a national headquarters, to be established outside of London, alongside two new smaller creative hubs in the Nations & Regions in 2019. These offices will house 300 employees – including key creative decision makers – with the intention of expanding further over time.
Commissioning editors overseeing significant budget and with responsibility for some of C4′s biggest shows will be based across the three new creative hubs, alongside a variety of other creative and business functions, the company said in a statement.
C4′s new national headquarters will also serve as a studio, with the potential to be a base for daily programs, and a new digital production unit that will create short form digital content for at young audiences.
While the locations of the three creative hubs have yet to be determined, executive board member Jonathan Allan will oversee a pitch process – to be launched in April – that will see cities and regions across the UK vying to become the network’s new hubs. Allan will work alongside C4 chief executive Alex Mahon (pictured). A decision on the location of the hubs will be made in Q3 2018.
The broadcaster will reduce its London footprint with space in its Horseferry Road office being opened up to indie producers and creative companies.
“As a public service broadcaster with diversity in its DNA, Channel 4 has a unique ability to reflect our society,” said Mahon in a statement. “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 organization – and it will also build on what we already do to support creative businesses, jobs and economies in the Nations & Regions.”
Added British producers’ trade group Pact: “Our members overwhelmingly see commissioning spend to be the most important way to achieve regional economic growth, build creative clusters and help serve audiences. The certainty of business is what allows companies to invest in talent, grow businesses and attract the talent needed to make programs.
“Pact recognizes the important role that Channel 4 plays in the UK television marketplace as a publicly owned public service broadcaster, with a unique remit to promote diversity and innovation both on and off screen. The health of the UK TV production sector is closely interlinked with that of Channel 4.”