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Channel 4 to set up national HQ in Leeds

Alex Mahon brought in an increase in commissioning spend outside London

The UK’s commercially funded public broadcaster Channel 4 has confirmed that its new national headquarters will be in the Yorkshire city of Leeds.

C4 announced this afternoon that it would be relocating to Leeds, with additional creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow.

The broadcaster said the new HQ and national hubs will be home to 300 jobs when fully established, including key creative decision makers, responsible for commissioning content and programmes from producers across the UK.

C4 has been based in Horseferry Road in the London borough of Westminster since 1994 but has come under mounting political and industry pressure in recent years to become less wedded to the capital and focus more on the nations and regions around the UK.

One of former Shine CEO Alex Mahon’s first moves having succeeded David Abraham as the channel’s CEO last year was to announce a voluntary increase in commissioning spend outside London to 50% of the C4 budget and the establishment of a national HQ in another UK city. A group of regional commissioning hubs in other locations have also been planned.

After a tendering process, C4 narrowed the shortlist for the national HQ to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds, with Bristol, Glasgow and Cardiff also in the running for a creative hub. The broadcaster confirmed this afternoon that it had decided to base itself in Leeds.

Work will continue to identify locations and property for the national HQ and creative hubs and it is planned that staff will begin to move in 2019. The space created at Horseferry Road will be made available to the indie production sector as part of the plans.

Following discussions between Channel 4 and ITN, it has also been decided that a major new Channel 4 News hub will be established in Leeds, including a studio with the capability to regularly co-anchor the programme.

Mahon said: “Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.

“Locating our national HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the north of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the north-east and east of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.

“The quality of pitches from all the cities involved in the final stage of the process was exceptionally high and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved for the effort and passion they put in.”


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