Broadcaster Channel 4 has confirmed that it will be moving hundreds of staff out of its London headquarters after it secured a deal with the government, with promises to spend as much as half of its £700m annual programme budget with production companies outside the capital.
More than a quarter of Channel 4’s 800 London staff are expected to be relocated, although the company will retain its £100m Victoria headquarters building. With Birmingham tipped as the favourite location for the new regional headquarters, it is expected that there will be at least one other new hub for the broadcaster in the UK, which has yet to be revealed.
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In total, 12 cities lobbied for the move, including Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol and Brighton, with the agreement between the government and Channel 4 being negotiated over the past two years. While Salford‘s Media City saw a huge boost from the BBC’s relocation 10 years ago, whichever area is chosen will inevitably see significant investment as well as major cultural benefits as a result of the move. Channel 4 expects that the new hubs across the country will create an additional 3,000 production jobs.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “As a public service broadcaster with diversity in its DNA, Channel 4 has a unique ability to reflect our society. 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.”
National and regional boost
He added: “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 organisation – and it will also build on what we already do to support creative businesses, jobs and economies in the nation and regions.”
Culture secretary Matt Hancock added that the government has long been committed to Channel 4’s relocation out of London. “I’m delighted Channel 4 have decided, under the strong new leadership of Alex Mahon, to establish the new national HQ outside of London, with 300 jobs, including key creative decision makers, to be based in the regions, rising over time.
“I know that many parts of the UK will be excited to pitch to be the new home of C4. We want all parts of Britain to benefit from our amazing creative industries, and C4’s leadership with a new national HQ outside of London is an important part of building a Britain that works for everyone.”
Executive board members along with sales director Jonathan Allen will begin talks in April to decide where the new locations will be, with a final decision expected by the third quarter of this year.