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In March 2018, Channel 4 launched 4 all the UK to “provide a significant boost to investment and jobs in the Nations and Regions and ensure that we do even more to serve the whole of the UK”. A key part of the strategy is to create a new National HQ and two creative hubs in the Nations and Regions. A “pitch brochure” explains:
At the heart of our strategy is a major new commitment to significantly increase our Nations and Regions content spend from our current quota of 35% to a new voluntary target of 50% by 2023. This will result in a cumulative boost of over £250 million in Channel 4’s Nations and Regions’ commissioning spend. It reflects both external analysis and feedback from the industry that increasing spend would have the greatest impact on regional economies and jobs.
To support and catalyse this spend across the UK, we propose to move to a multi-site operating model, establishing three new creative hubs in the Nations and Regions in 2019. These will be home to jobs from across the business, including key creative decision makers. Upon this strategy being fully implemented, it is envisioned that 300 Channel 4 jobs will be based in the Nations and Regions.
It is intended that Programme Commissioning Editors with responsibility for some of Channel 4’s biggest shows and who oversee significant spend 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 become Channel 4’s National HQ and will regularly host Channel 4 Executive and Board meetings while Horseferry Road will be Channel 4’s London HQ.
Channel 4 News will also expand its footprint in the Nations and Regions, opening three new bureaux outside of London, which will further boost regional representation. The process for determining the location of the new bureaux will be led separately by ITN, in partnership with Channel 4.
The brochure gives further detail on how cities and regions across the UK can pitch to become the new Channel 4 National HQ and Creative Hubs. Channel 4 has also published a set of FAQs on the process. A decision on the location of the hubs is expected in Q3 2018.
In response to parliamentary questions in March 2018, the Government said that it welcomed Channel 4’s plans [HL6332] and that the Government had “long been committed to Channel 4 moving outside of London, and has worked closely with Channel 4 to find a solution that worked for Channel 4 and the country that owns it” [HL6331].
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport consultation on “Increasing the Regional Impact of Channel 4 Corporation” ran between 12 April and 5 July 2017.
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