Birmingham on Shortlist for Channel 4 National Headquarters
Birmingham is officially on the final shortlist to become the new home of the Channel 4 National Headquarters.
In one of the biggest structural changes for the channel over the last 35 years, the broadcaster is planning to move 300 staff out of London to the new location. The final shortlist also includes Greater Manchester and Leeds. Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham were initially on the bid but have failed to be selected.
Various key destinations around the UK have been competing to either become the new national headquarters or one of two ‘creative hubs’. The entirety of the final shortlist is in the running to become a creative hub alongside Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow. Channel 4 has committed to transferring around 300 staff from the 800 working at the current Westminster location, in an effort to reach new areas in the UK without leaving London altogether.
Birmingham has long been the favourite to win with Andy Street, Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, describing the city as having a strong case based on ‘unrivalled connectivity and a creative, digital economy’.
The winner of the competition will be announced in the Autumn while the unsuccessful bids will be considered as locations for smaller ‘creative hubs’. These hubs will focus more on commissioning new programmes.
Channel 4 visited 13 regions before creating the shortlist which specified that to be the home of the new headquarters, candidates must have a population of more than 200,000, a travel time to London under three hours and a high-quality digital economy. The broadcaster has also described its commitment to increasing the amount of money spent on commissioning programmes outside of London – the aim is to spend £250 million over the new five years.
Jonathan Allan, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer believes they had “to take some very difficult decisions on which cities to take forward to the next stage, but we believe the six cities we have selected are best able to deliver against our vision and requirements for the new Channel 4 national headquarters and creative hubs.”