Channel 4 has now officially opened for business in Leeds, the home of its new National HQ.
Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon officially marked the opening of the new base, with a large new office opened in the West Gate development this week which will be the temporary home until the move to the permanent base in the Majestic in 2020.
Leeds is the first of the three new Channel 4 bases to launch for business, with the new Creative Hubs in Bristol’s Finzels Reach development and Glasgow’s Garment Factory both opening in November – joining the London HQ at Horseferry Road and Nations & Regions ad sales base in Manchester.
Around 250 Channel 4 jobs will be based in Leeds including programme commissioners across genres including comedy, daytime, entertainment, E4, popular factual and sport including Head of Drama, Caroline Hollick and Head of Sport, Pete Andrews. The National HQ will be led by Sinead Rocks, Managing Director Channel 4 Nations and Regions.
Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit, a new in-house digital agency commissioning and producing content for social and digital platforms, will also be based in Leeds as well staff from the creative diversity teams, the Indie Growth Fund, the Pictures team and members of teams supporting All 4, finance, business affairs, press and corporate relations, audience research and insight, human resources, data science, information and archives and workspace.
Channel 4 News will be establishing a news hub in Leeds with the ability to regularly co-anchor the programme – and in 2020 Channel 4 will launch a new live daytime show filmed in the City.
Marking the launch in Leeds, Mahon announced a range of Nations and Regions development funds including a new Emerging Indie Fund (succeeding the current Alpha Fund) which will sit alongside Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, which will be based in Leeds. Channel 4 will also devolve a ‘significant’ dedicated development fund to Nations and Regions commissioners in the Nations and Regions from 2020.
Channel 4 will also launch a new academy in 2020 with the aim of attracting people into broadcasting and production from diverse backgrounds.
As part of this there will also be a new commitment to 50% of Channel 4’s apprenticeships and 75% of Production Training Scheme placements being made in the Nations & Regions.
Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said: “The launch of our National HQ in Leeds is the start a new era for Channel 4. An era in which we will be rooted in and more connected to the lives of the communities that make up the UK.
“Channel 4 will not just look and feel different but will think and behave differently. We’ll be more accessible to our partners in the industry and more visible to those that may one day work in it. It’s the biggest change in our 37-year history and I’m so proud that we’re now here.”
Sinead Rocks, Channel 4’s Managing Director, Nations & Regions said: “This is a really exciting moment for everyone at Channel 4 but particularly for all the staff at our National HQ in Leeds where there’s a real buzz of enthusiasm and anticipation.
“The opening of our National HQ marks the start of something very special as it’ll give Channel 4 the opportunity to work more closely with regional organisations, businesses and indies and seek out new, untapped talent.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “The announcement that Channel 4 will be joining us in Leeds has acted as a huge catalyst for growth in our film, TV and creative sectors over the past year as well as creating an unprecedented buzz about what the future holds for everyone involved in those industries.
“With demand for more studio space in the city already high, it’s also meant that we’ve been able to further support some incredibly imaginative and forward-thinking plans which will see places like the Polestar Petty printworks and Engine House become state-of-the-art facilities, creating a number of new jobs, bringing further investment to the city and helping those sectors to flourish.
“This an exciting time to be in Leeds and to be part of making that shared vision of our city as a hub for creativity and innovation a reality.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 said: “In choosing Leeds City Region for its National HQ, Channel 4 couldn’t be better placed for attracting staff from our diverse communities, towns and cities.
“The new roles provide a range of exciting and innovative opportunities for people at all stages in their career, whether that’s new into developing digital content or an experienced commissioner. They clearly demonstrate the magnitude of commitment Channel 4 has made. Welcome Channel 4. We’re delighted to play a part in this bold new era.”
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