Re-establishing Channel 4s new creative hub in Manchester
Channel 4 launches the search for a new national headquarters to become the broadcaster’s new out-of-London home. A shortlist of seven large metropolitan centers has been selected from more than 30 cities vying for the opportunity. Reinforcing the UK as an accomplished nation of creativity, innovation and talent are Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and West Midlands.
Government plans to sell the existing Horseferry Road London headquarters were opposed and Channel 4 will retain this office but reduce its London footprint by securing a new location outside of the capital. TV production companies based outside of London will rise from £169m annually to approximately £350m a year by 2023, ensuring a prosperous future for Channel 4 after choosing to reside outside of London.
The vision is to open three new ‘creative hubs’ in the Nations and Regions, with the largest to be a new national headquarters. Hosting a plethora of state of the art facilities, a new TV studio and space for executive and board meetings, the new cutting-edge base aims to treble the number of jobs by 2020 – the biggest structural change Channel 4 has experienced since its establishment in 1982.
In March, Channel 4 introduced the ‘4 all the UK’ strategy to guarantee the organisation benefits the whole of the UK, a new scheme to implement a compelling boost to investment and jobs. A sole focus, at the heart of the Channel 4 move, is to considerably maximise content spend in the Nations & Regions from its current quota of 35% to a new target of 50% by 2023, ultimately resulting in a cumulative advancement of over £250m in Channel 4s commissioning spend positively impacting on supporting creative businesses and regional economies.
Acting as a catalyst for this spend across the UK is initiating the proposed multi-site model through smaller creative hubs and a main advanced hub at the forefront of technology and innovation provoking a major surge in regional representation and the production of jobs. 3000 additional production jobs will be generated with the motive to expand over time.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s Chief Executive said:
“As a public service broadcaster with diversity in its DNA, Channel 4 has a unique ability to reflect our society. This is a significant and exciting moment of change for Channel 4 as we evolve to ensure we are best suited to serve all of the UK”.
Manchester is a favourite contender amongst other shortlisted opponents due to already housing an abundance of broadcasting corporations, such as BBC and ITV. Therefore Channel 4 could add strength to the city and help comprise the title of UKs media capital.
Multiple investment opportunities are available in the current breeding ground for property – MediaCityUK. RWInvest, a property investment company based in Liverpool recognise the potential of the burgeoning housing market located within the northern powerhouse city and offer lucrative investment opportunities to benefit prospective investors aiming to seek the advantages of thriving Manchester.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester stated Greater Manchester was the “only viable alternative outside of London.”
Relocating to MediaCityUK in Salford, Manchester, would help re-balance the national economy by repressing investment to London and safeguard Channel 4s future acting as a default destination for media and creative industries.
According to a report by ResPublica, backed by both senior Conservative and Labour figures, when considering the relocation of creative or digital institutions outside of London, Salford should become the ‘go-to’.
“The benefits of moving Channel 4 to Salford – for the company itself, for the cluster at Salford and for the wider regional economy’s global competitiveness are significant.
“These would be diluted and in some cases lost entirely were the channel to be implanted somewhere without a pre-existing ecosystem from which it could benefit and which would grow to meet its needs”.
Channel 4 moving to MediaCityUK could serve as an ‘anchor’ to create a ‘protective shield’ from London.
Neighbouring towns, Salford and Trafford, have been lobbying the government to ensure Manchester is the only option when choosing the broadcaster’s new base. Through determined backing and a logical approach, plans to prise it from the capital is in full swing.