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C4 narrows field for new HQ

Commercially funded UK pubcaster Channel 4 has named the three UK cities it is eyeing up for its new national headquarters, with a further three being considered for a ‘creative hub.’

Alex Mahon

Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds are the three chosen for either the HQ or a creative hub, with Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow still left in the running for a creative hub only.

The original list of 13 locations under consideration had included Liverpool, the West Midlands, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol on the HQ shortlist, with Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke earmarked as potential creative hub venues.

The shortlist follows the second stage of a pitch process through June and July that has seen a team from C4, led by CEO Alex Mahon, chief commercial officer and Jonathan Allan and chief marketing and communications officer Dan Brooke, tour the country and meet the bidding teams.

Allan, who will now lead advanced discussions with the six cities shortlisted, said: “Our visits to the 13 shortlisted cities over the last month were incredibly inspiring and I’d like to thank all of those involved for the huge amounts of creativity they demonstrated and the excitement for Channel 4 and what we could achieve together.

“We have again had to take some very difficult decisions on which cities to take forward to the next stage, but we believe the six cities we have selected are best able to deliver against our vision and requirements for the new national HQ and creative hubs.”

The plan to move C4’s HQ away from its long-standing Horseferry Road base in London was announced by Mahon in March, along with a £250m (US$345m) increase in its programme spend outside the UK capital. By 2023, half the network’s programming budget will be spent in the nations and regions, up from 35% today.

C4 has a public service remit to commission from the UK indie community and has been under political pressure for some time to reduce its dependence on London.

Successive secretaries of state for culture and media in the current Conservative government have pressed the idea of moving the channel’s base to a different city. Space created at Horseferry Road will be opened up to the indie sector to use.

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