Channel 5 has announced a significant increase in its year-on-year regional spend with indies to 35.5 per cent of its total UK origination budget in 2019 versus 21.6 per cent in 2018, far exceeding its Ofcom target quota of 10 per cent.
In terms of hours, regionally produced content made up 20.7 per cent (380 hours) of the schedule in 2019, against 16.4 per cent (289 hours) in 2018, an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year, also exceeding its Ofcom quota of 10 per cent and reflecting the channels continued commitment to the nations and regions*.
During 2019, 44 out of 111 (40 per cent) independent production companies who received commissions from Channel 5 were regional. The channel’s support for the regions is aligned with a substantial viewership outside of London, particularly in Yorkshire, North West, Border, and Eastern Regions of the UK.
Channel 5 says its increased regional content supply is the result of a strategic decision to foster relationships with out-of-London producers. In 2018, it launched an initiative to identify and work with regional production companies, which alone to date has resulted in 75 hours of content.
In particular, Channel 5 has invested heavily in Yorkshire-based programming, totalling £20 million from 2015 until the end of 2019. The Leeds-based independent production company Daisybeck is behind a number of highly successful Channel 5 commissions, including The Yorkshire Vet and Springtime on the Farm. In addition, the channel’s new smash-hit drama, All Creatures Great and Small, produced by Playground, also received investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.
Meanwhile, Channel 5’s multiplatform pre-school brand Milkshake! increased regional production by 100 per cent YOY in 2019, resulting in 45 hours of content, that will air from 2020. Milkshake! works with a range of indies from across the UK including Belfast, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Notable upcoming regional productions include Winnie and Wilbur and The World According To Grandpa, both of which have received support from the BFI’s Young Audience Content Fund.
Ben Frow, Director of Programmes, ViacomCBS Networks UK commented “Channel 5 looks beyond the metropolitan London bubble when it comes to programme-making, which in turn helps us to reflect audiences the length and breadth of the country. This approach is resonating with viewers, as the channel’s top four regions for share of viewing are all outside the M25, with London fifth. I am proud that we go above and beyond our PSB remit and that we are such strong supporters of the UK creative economy.”