Yesterday was a great day for Leeds, as Channel 4 announced that our city would become the new home for the Channel 4 head office hub, outside of London. Channel 4 received over 30 pitches from cities and regions across the UK before shortlisting 13, and entering into more advanced negotiations over the National HQ with just 3; Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.
The move will bring around 300 of the 800-strong Channel 4 workforce to Leeds, while maintaining a further HQ in the capital, and forms part of a more extensive plan which looks to increase the amount that Channel 4 spends on programming outside of London. The aim is to increase this to £250m during the next five years, resulting in 50% (rising from 35% currently) of the programming budget being spent outside of London by 2023 – a strategy set to “benefit all areas of the UK, not just the specific locations supporting up to 3,000 production jobs in the Nations and Regions economy.”
In addition, Channel 4 will be opening two creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol, with the three new sites housing ‘key decision-makers’ with some of Channel 4’s biggest shows programme commissioners joining the cities in 2019. The Leeds based HQ will become a digital creative hub, producing materials for online platforms and social media alongside hosting executive and board meetings.
Channel 4 stated: “The decision to select Leeds as the new National HQ and Bristol and Glasgow as new Creative Hubs follows an extensive pitch process in which shortlisted cities were carefully assessed against Channel 4’s vision and objectives for the National HQ and Creative Hubs set out in the pitch entry guidelines.”
Channel 4 said Leeds proposed an “ambitious strategy”, which included plans of how the move would support creative industries and nurture new talent from a more diverse range of backgrounds. The new bases are set to better represent the whole of the UK both on and off-screen, as part of C4’s broader ‘4 All the UK’ plan. The decision to relocate to Leeds over Birmingham and Manchester was announced on October 31st to a flurry of conversation across social media.
David Aspin, the founder of Munroe K and owner and operator of White Rose Office Park, commented:
“Channel 4 coming to Leeds is a tribute to the really hard work of Judith Blake, Tom Riordan, Roger Marsh, Martin Farrington, Angela Barnicle and David Shepherd to name but a few of those who have worked so hard to make this happen. As part of the Leeds community, I would like to personally thank you for this remarkable achievement.
The combination of the City Council, the University, the LEP and a wholly supportive group of entrepreneurs is the platform for growth for Leeds, and let this be the beginning of a new chapter of growth and opportunity for all those who live, work and are educated here in the region.”
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