Channel 4 recently announced a new stage in its development, which it calls the ‘4 All the UK strategy.’ The objective is to move to a multi-site operating model, opening three new creative hubs in the Nations and Regions, home to 300 jobs.
One hub will be a new national headquarters to parallel its existing London base. Each hub will attract jobs, new career opportunities and a valuable commissioning presence to engage with talent.
Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Susan Aitken, has already launched a campaign to secure the new Channel 4 HQ. There will be stiff competition, particularly from Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Channel 4 is a publisher-broadcaster. Unlike the BBC and ITV Studios, it does not make its own programmes and is reliant on ideas from independent production companies. In developing this business model, Channel 4 broke the mould in British television and pioneered the ‘commissioning editor system,’ which was already familiar in magazine publishing.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“I wholeheartedly support Glasgow’s bid. It is the ideal location.
“Despite being the production city furthest from London, it is home to the biggest and most creatively diverse community of regional independent producers anywhere in the UK.
“There are more than 100 production and facilities companies in the Glasgow region. Raise the Roof and IWC Media are already two of the biggest volume suppliers of lifestyle shows to Channel 4 Firecrest – an indie that Channel 4 has supported with equity investment through its innovative Growth Fund – is one of its key suppliers to news and current affairs, and the recent psychological drama Kiss Me First used virtual-reality design produced by the Glasgow studio, Axis Animation.
“With increased opportunity there is no question that capacity, creativity and job creation will grow. Scotland already has a growing number of media companies with headquarters or substantial bases here. Channel 4’s new HQ will be a tremendous addition.”
Stuart Cosgrove, Chairman of the Channel 4 Glasgow Bid said:
“Our bid will be creative and different. It will answer familiar questions and pose new solutions.
“One area close to Channel 4’s heart but not well known to London decision-makers, is Glasgow’s new diversity. In 2001, Channel 4 broadcast a Glasgow-based film Gas Attack, directed by Scottish film-maker Kenny Glennan. It went on to win numerous awards, including the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British film. Gas Attack was tense, packed with ideas and is one of Channel 4’s riskiest and most prescient projects to date. It told a story about Glasgow’s diversity and Channel 4’s passion for edgy risk-taking. It was historic too. This was the first drama of the asylum-community era. Since 1999, Glasgow has been an approved Asylum Dispersal City and attracted new Scots from war-zones and famine areas.
“The city now has a sizeable community of Kurds, Iraqis, North Africans and Sri Lankans. The first generation of asylum-seekers that arrived as children are now in their twenties and thirties, and are in the main lifetime Channel 4 viewers. Television has been glacially slow to reflect those demographic changes and a deeper understanding of the changes that Glasgow has witnessed will be a powerful advantage when talking about one of Channel 4’s core values.”