Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester make it into Channel 4 second round

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by Simon Austin

Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester have made it through to the second stage of pitching to be the new national HQ for Channel 4.

The first round pitch process was launched by Chief Executive Alex Mahon in April and cities and regions were asked to provide written submissions by May 11th.

More than 30 submissions were received and whittled down to seven by Mahon, Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Allan and the broadcaster’s executive team.  

The cities/ regions are: Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and West Midlands.

A further six cities  - Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke - have been shortlisted for consideration as a Creative Hub only. 

The second stage process will include Channel 4 visiting each city for a presentation and Q&A.  Following this, Channel 4 will engage in further discussions with cities and regions before selecting the final locations in October 2018.

Allan said: “We’ve been incredibly impressed both by the number of pitches we received and by the high quality of the submissions – which has underlined the huge amount of creativity, innovation and talent right across the UK.

“However we have to move to a shortlist phase and, after careful consideration by the Channel 4 Executive team, we’ve selected 13 cities that are best able to meet our vision for our new hubs in the Nations and Regions. 

“We look forward to visiting all those on the shortlist as part of our second phase, but we will also be continuing to work with all cities and regions as part of our strategy to increase investment and support creative businesses, jobs and growth across the UK.”

Channel 4 announced its 4 All the UK plan in March 2018 – a strategy to ensure that Channel 4 serves the whole of the UK and the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history.

At the heart of the strategy is a major new commitment from Channel 4 to significantly increase its Nations & Regions content spend from its current quota of 35% to a new voluntary target of 50% by 2023.

This will result in a cumulative boost of over £250m in Channel 4's Nations & Regions commissioning spend – which will benefit all parts of the UK. It reflects both external analysis and feedback from the industry that increasing spend would have the greatest impact on regional economies and jobs.

Channel 4 will move to a multi-site operating model, establishing a new National HQ and two new smaller creative hubs in the Nations & Regions in 2019.

When this strategy is fully implemented, 300 Channel 4 jobs will be based in the Nations and Regions and the intention is to grow this further over time.