New Channel 4 head of factual Danny Horan has been setting out his priorities for the genre on Channel 4 at this morning’s Televisual Factual Festival at Bafta.
Horan said that Channel 4 needed to focus more on younger audiences because “young people are not seeing themselves reflected back enough” on the broadcaster’s output. He said with young people increasingly turning to YouTube and the SVODs “the competition has changed and the threats are more acute. How are we going to survive in the next phase of Channel 4?”
Horan, interviewed by Label 1’s Simon Dickson, put a particular focus on the channel’s specialist factual output saying it was the team and genre “that needs most reinvigorating. It was taken in a direction that was more in the fact ent space. We want to avoid the features end of specialist factual.”
Horan said that he wanted to put more science content in science shows. “How do we look at programmes and series that have science right at their heart? It might be a format or a presenter.” He said he also wanted more of a focus on history, in particular contemporary history. Horan also said that a big need for the channel was new talent to front specialist factual, especially women and diverse talent.
On the subject of Channel 4 moving out more of its operations to the nations and regions, Horan said that “there’s no doubt that the quotas are coming our way for PSBs. We have to work out a way of continuing to work with the best indies, the best directors and we have to move some of that out of London. Some of that will require companies opening a genuine regional office.”
He said it would ultimately be positive for the shows that end up on screen. “To get different, diverse, regional voices, you’ve got to make stuff in the regions by people who live there.” He said that it was also an important differentiator from Netflix and the SVODs. “One advantage we have is we reflect the UK more on screen.”
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