Channel 4 unveils plans to open new 'National HQ' outside of London
Channel 4 has unveiled plans to move hundreds of jobs out of London is what has been called “the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history.”
The British broadcaster is set to launch its ‘4 All the UK’ plan which will see Channel 4 move to a multi-site operating model, establishing a new National HQ and two new smaller creative hubs outside of the capital in 2019.
When this strategy is fully implemented, 300 Channel 4 jobs will be based across these three sites and the intention is to grow this further over time.
The plans also include a new commitment from Channel 4 to increase its content spend on shows made by TV production companies based outside London from its current quota of 35% to a new voluntary target of 50% by 2023.
The broadcaster said this will result in a cumulative boost of over £250m in its commissioning spend.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s chief executive, announced a pitch process will be launched in April in which cities and regions across the UK can pitch to become the home of the new Channel 4 creative hubs – with the aim that a decision on the location of the hubs will be made in Q3 2018.
Jonathan Allan, Channel 4 executive board member, will take on lead executive responsibility for delivering the 4 All the UK strategy – including leading the pitch process for the new creative hub locations.
Programme commissioning editors overseeing significant budget and with responsibility for some of Channel 4’s biggest shows 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 be known as Channel 4’s National HQ, and will regularly host Channel 4 executive and Board meetings, alongside Horseferry Road as Channel 4’s London HQ.
This National HQ will be home to a new studio, with the potential to be a base for daily programmes, and a new digital production unit.
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.
“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 Nations & Regions.”
The corporation will retain its Horseferry Road office, but will reduce its London footprint with space in the building becoming a new drop-in workspace for use by Nations & Regions indies and creative companies building their business with clients in the capital.