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UKTV to launch Leeds hub

Multichannel operator UKTV will join Channel 4 in moving staff to Leeds after unveiling plans to open a regional office in the Yorkshire city later this month.

Sinead Greenaway

UKTV will open a “technology innovation hub” in Leeds to house a team of up to 10 specialists, who will be tasked with enhancing the broadcaster’s content distribution capabilities.

This follows the “rapid” expansion of UKTV’s technology division and the team responsible for VoD service UKTV Play, the company said.

While the office will initially focus on technology innovation, there is potential for it to house staff from the programming and editorial side of the business, UKTV added.

Leeds was chosen because of its strong transport links and recent growth as a creative hub, particularly for tech companies, of which there are 1,350 in the city. It is also home to two large universities, offering access to young talent keen to enter the industry, UKTV said.

The city’s “thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool” were also cited among the reasons commercially funded public broadcaster Channel 4 chose to move its headquarters to the city, as revealed last week.

UKTV said its technology and operations department would focus on “embracing new technologies, further exploring data analytics and the cloud to enable viewers to watch even more of the programmes they want to watch, on their device of choice.”

Chief technology and operations officer Sinead Greenaway said: “Opening a regional technology innovation hub marks the next step in UKTV’s long-term growth strategy, enabling us to harness the skills and expertise of talent outside of London and support the creative industries in the regions.”

UKTV has existing ties to Leeds, with its original series Helicopter ER, 999 Rescue Squad and Bangers & Cash filmed nearby.


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