In a recent deal with the Government, who were keen for Channel 4 to re-locate outside of London, it was agreed they would move 300 staff to a regional location. The initial criteria for submission to become a ‘second’ HQ was a population of more than 200,000 people, travel time to London of less than three hours and high-quality physical and digital infrastructure.
After a visit to 13 cities by Channel 4 executives, they chose Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and Greater Manchester. There was disappointment and criticism by some that the six cities chosen already had a BBC or ITV presence. The shortlist was announced on 23rd July 2018 and Leeds, Birmingham and Greater Manchester were chosen. The disappointment no doubt felt by Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow will be somewhat alleviated as they compete with the shortlisted cities to become one of the two new creative hubs, focusing on commissioning new programmes.
The addition of a second HQ for Channel 4 will be a fierce competition between the three cities as it will attract more investment and high-profile jobs to their area. Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer has said that the Channel is committed to increasing its spending on content from the UK’s “nations and regions” by £250m over the next five years.
The winner will be announced in the Autumn.