The broadcaster has invited seven candidates to participate in the second stage of the pitch process for its new national hub, with the two North West bidders joined by Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and the West Midlands.
Channel 4 will maintain its London base, but open a regional hub, along with two further ‘creative hubs,’ as part of its 4 All the UK strategy. Each of the candidates for the main hub are in the running for these, competing with six further locations – Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent. More than 30 submissions were received, Channel 4 said.
The next stage will include Channel 4 visiting each city for a presentation and Q&A, with further discussions following before selection is made in October this year.
Jonathan Allen, Channel 4’s chief commercial officer, is leading the process. He said: “We’ve been incredibly impressed both by the number of pitches we received and by the high quality of the submissions.
“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.”
At the heart of the 4 All the UK plan is a commitment from Channel 4 to significantly increase its ‘nations & regions’ content spend from its current quota of 35% to a target of 50% by 2023.
This is intended to result in a cumulative boost of over £250m in Channel 4’s nations & regions commissioning spend. When the strategy is fully implemented, 300 Channel 4 jobs will be based in the nations and regions, with the intention to grow that further.
MediaCityUK at Salford Quays is the obvious candidate in Greater Manchester, while Liverpool also believes it has a strong case. The city council is working with developer Capital & Centric to take forward the Liverpool Film Studios project around the former Littlewoods building on Edge Lane, and is also styling the Ten Streets regeneration zone as an innovation district
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “I’m delighted Channel 4 has recognised the strength and quality of our bid and has shortlisted the city for its new home. The bid has been a great team effort and I want to thank everyone who has supported the city to date.
“This is a hotly contested bidding competition and to reach this next stage in the process demonstrates Liverpool’s pulling power as a location that offers businesses and their employees a great work-life balance.
“There are exciting plans afoot to cement Liverpool’s position at the cutting edge of the creative sector and Channel 4 has a huge role to play in that story. Now that they are coming to visit, I’ve no doubt they will be wowed by what the city has to offer and how they can help shape it.”