Channel 4 chooses Leeds for national HQ and Bristol and Glasgow for creative hubs
Channel 4 has chosen Leeds as the home for its new 'National HQ' where it will relocate hundreds of jobs from London.
Channel 4 has chosen Leeds as the site of its new National HQ
The Yorkshire city beat Birmingham and Greater Manchester in the final stage of bidding for the new base, which will house 'key creative decision makers' and be responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes across the UK.
Glasgow and Bristol have been selected as the sites for two smaller 'Creative Hubs' as part of the broadcaster's plan to move 300 of its 800 staff outside the capital and ramp up its regional commissioning by £250m.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4's chief executive, praised Leeds' "compelling and ambitious strategy" after an exhaustive seven-month pitch process that saw 30 cities and regions initially compete for the new offices.
She said: "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.
"I know that Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow will best deliver our objectives to grow the production sector across the UK, build the pipeline of creative talent outside London and support our increased investment in programming produced across the nations and regions."
The "thriving digital industry and strong digital talent pool" in Leeds were highlighted by Channel 4 among the reasons for its selection, since the National HQ will house a new 'Digital Creative Unit' responsible for growing the corporation's presence across digital and social media.
It was also announced today that following discussions between Channel 4 and ITN, a major new Channel 4 News hub will be established in Leeds, including a studio with the capability to regularly co-anchor the programme.
In its rationale behind the selections, Channel 4 heralded Bristol for its already "thriving" television production sector and proposals to work with diverse communities across the city and bring new talent into the industry.
Glasgow's "rich cultural diversity", it said, would allow the public service broadcaster to "further improve on-screen representation" and grow its talent pipeline.
Staff are expected to begin relocating to the new locations in the second half of 2019. The move, described by Mahon as "the biggest and most exciting change in the organisation's 36-year history", was part of a deal struck with the government to maintain Channel 4's London base while increasing its regional representation.