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Channel 4 announces composition of National HQ

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19 Mar 2019

Creative and digital departments at heart of new bases in Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol

Channel 4’s Chief Executive, Alex Mahon today updated staff and partners in the industry on Channel 4’s plans for its new National HQ in Leeds and its Creative Hubs in Bristol and Glasgow – setting out the creative, digital and operational departments to be based in Channel 4’s new offices across the Nations & Regions.

Channel 4 will shortly be announcing the buildings it has selected for its National HQ in Leeds and Creative Hub in Bristol, having confirmed that it will base one of its Creative Hubs in the landmark Garment Factory building in Glasgow.

The new bases are at the heart of Channel 4’s 4 All the UK strategy to attract and develop talent from across the UK, both on and off-screen, and support the significant increase in the organisation’s Nations & Regions spend on creative content – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total.   When implemented, the 4 All the UK strategy will result in over 300 jobs being created in the Nations & Regions.

Creative decision makers – including Commissioning Editors, who are responsible for commissioning content from production companies around the UK – and digital and creative jobs sit at the heart of the new bases.

Alex Mahon said: “We are moving fast and we are on track to open our three new bases in the Nations & Regions this autumn.   Channel 4 will soon be a very different organisation to the one we have been for the last 36 years.   There remains much hard work for us to do, but this is part of our strategy to ensure Channel 4 is even more open to new talent and new voices from underserved areas and better reflects the diversity of all of the UK.”

As Channel 4 remains in consultation with those staff members potentially affected by this it is not possible to yet give details of individual roles in each location and plans may be subject to further change, but in each of Channel 4’s Nations and Regions offices, it is envisaged that departments will be represented at the Leeds National HQ as follows.

Leeds – National HQ

The National HQ in Leeds will have creative and digital departments at its heart and will also be the base of the Managing Director, C4 Nations & Regions – a new senior role who will lead the 4 All the UK strategy across the business.  This new role will be supported by leaders from the departments represented in the National HQ.

Commissioning departments represented in the new National HQ will include: Comedy, Daytime, Drama, Entertainment & Live Events, E4, Factual, Features & Formats and Sport.  It will also include members of the On-Screen Talent and Creative Diversity teams, responsible for the diversity of Channel 4’s talent and programming.  Commissioners from these departments will work with producers and talent across the UK to support the significant growth in Channel 4’s Nations & Regions content spend and create more opportunities for regional voices and talent on and off-screen.

Leeds will also be the home of Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit – a new department commissioning and producing digital content to reach audiences on social and digital platforms.  The Digital Creative Unit will work with departments across the organisation, and with independent producers, to support new digital talent and Channel 4’s investment in young-focussed content and audiences.

Additionally, the National HQ will also house other creative departments including the on-air continuity department, who produce and voice the airtime between Channel 4 programmes; and the Pictures team, commissioning and creating images for All 4 and for external media.   There will also be a team supporting a new studio within the National HQ, and creative and digital roles from 4Creative, All 4, and the Listings team.

Commercially, Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund will be based in the National HQ as it refocuses on supporting the 4 All the UK strategy through investing in growing Nations & Regions independent production companies.   There will also be roles from the Advertising Sales Operations team.

Leeds will be home to a range of key business support and operations personnel, supporting the delivery of Channel 4’s creative and commercial work.   The following departments will be represented: Audience Research & Insight, Business Affairs, Corporate Relations, Data Science, Finance, Human Resources, Information & Archives, Press & Publicity, Production Finance, Systems Delivery, Technology, Workspace.

Additionally, there will be some roles from our partner contractors – including the ITN team as part of the new Channel 4 News hub based in the National HQ.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the NP11 said:

“This really is the spark. It’s excellent news that creative and future facing parts of Channel 4 will be located in Leeds City Region plugging into our significant tech and creative ecosystem. The sheer spread of functions and roles announced demonstrates the magnitude of commitment the broadcaster has made. The partnership we’ve built as a region with Channel 4 has a great momentum and we’re really proud to be part of this transformation.”

Councilor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“It is fantastic to hear Channel 4 have chosen to put such a strong emphasis on creative and digital in their new HQ as this complements our ever growing, strong and innovative sectors in these key areas whilst also proving hugely beneficial to our emerging young talent within the city.

“This is yet another huge step forward for the city and our partnership with Channel 4, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming staff to the city when they arrive.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

“We very much welcome the news this afternoon from Channel 4 around the wide variety of roles and teams that will be brought to Leeds as part of the new HQ.

“Leeds has excellent links to the capital, and it is great to hear that representatives from different teams will be present in both cities, therefore reinforcing these links further in the future.

“This is an exciting time for indies in the city, as further investment is committed through both the work being undertaken by the Channel 4, and work ongoing by the council and city region."