Advanced Television

C4: “Record Nations and Regions spend”

March 15, 2022

Channel 4’s proportion of commissions and spend in the Nations and Regions hit an all-time record high last year.

Two thirds of all original programming commissioned for the main channel was produced in the Nations and Regions – nearly double the broadcaster’s 35 per cent quota set by Ofcom.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz, said: “These record figures show how Channel 4’s commitment to increasing spend in the Nations and Regions has helped break London’s longstanding dominance of the TV industry. Over the last two years we have built a formidable commissioning team in our new bases of Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol and their hard work, in collaboration with our brilliant indie partners, has ensured that the Channel’s output is now truly representative of the whole United Kingdom”

Both figures represented records in terms of percentage commissions and spend from the Nations and Regions beating the broadcaster previous peaks of 59 per cent of hours commissioned (2018) and 47 per cent of spend on originated programming (2020) from N&R based indies.

The record commissioning statistics have been welcomed by independent production companies across the UK.

Richard Osborne, MD at Bristol-based Angel Eye, said: “Channel 4’s support of the independent media sector outside of London has been a massive boost to companies like ours. The risks that Channel 4 take on supporting businesses across the UK is a key reason that our media industry is getting more vibrant at home and more successful globally.”

Kelda Crawford-McCann, CEO at Belfast-based Strident Media, added: “Channel 4’s engagement with Northern Ireland’s indies has been a huge boost for jobs and business growth. Channel 4 leads the way when it comes to Nations and Regions spend and commitment, they proactively invested in and engage with the Northern Ireland creative sector. This has resulted in invaluable opportunities for Strident and more importantly for its local staff.”

Lizi Wootton, Head of Popular Factual at Glasgow-based Two Rivers Media, commented: “At Two Rivers Media we are currently in production with our sixth Channel 4 commission in the last two years. With other series in pre-production and development, we know first-hand that Channel 4’s commitment to Scotland not only brings genuine opportunity but significant economic and cultural benefit to the independent production sector.”

Lucy Smith, Development Executive at Leeds-based Wise Owl Media, said: “Everyone wants to be in the room where it happens, and right now out-of-London production is experiencing an extraordinary renaissance. With the arrival of Channel 4 in Leeds ambitious young talent see Yorkshire as a land of opportunity, while some of the UK’s most exciting creative minds who deserted for the Big Smoke are returning in droves. Out-of-London indies are no longer content to deliver low-tariff regional programmes and are laser-focused on developing big budget international formats at scale. So if you’re considering a move north, be part of history and join us.”

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