Leeds beats Manchester and Birmingham to become home to C4's new national HQ - with relocation of 200 staff
Leeds has beaten Manchester and Birmingham to become the home of Channel 4's new national headquarters.
Channel 4’s board and chief executive Alex Mahon confirmed the decision on Wednesday 31st October, as part of plans to ensure that the broadcaster 'better represents all the UK, on and off-screen'.
The Government made clear that Channel 4 needed to do more to increase its presence in the regions
The move will involve the relocation of 200 out of 800 staff to Yorkshire, plus 50 to new 'creative hubs' in Glasgow and Bristol. It is envisaged that staff will begin to make the move in H2 2019.
Welcoming the news, Leeds City Council CEO Tom Riordan tweeted: "We’ve done it! The best news today that @Channel4’s national HQ will be in #Leeds. THANK YOU so much to all involved in this brilliant pitch..."
Channel 4 announced its '4 All the UK' plan in March 2018, to increase programme spending outside of London from 35% to 50% - worth £250m over the next five years.
The board's view was that Leeds was "best able to deliver against Channel 4’s vision and objectives for a new National HQ".
They said: "The Leeds City Region put forward a comprehensive, compelling and ambitious strategy... Leeds is home to a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool and this will help support Channel 4’s new Digital Creative Unit."
It has also been decided that Channel 4 and ITN will establish a 'major' new news hub in the city, including a studio with the capability to 'regularly co-anchor the programme'.
Chief exec Alex Mahon said: “Locating our National HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the North of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the North East and East of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters."
Although commercially funded, Channel 4 is ultimately owned by the government. In 2017 an eighteen month long review ruled out privatising the broadcaster, but pushed for it to relocate a chunk of its operations outside of the capital.
Responding to the decision, culture secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The Government made clear that Channel 4 needed to do more to increase its presence in the regions to help better reflect and provide for UK audiences outside of London."