C4 HQ de­ci­sion blow


The Chronicle - - Front Page - By DANIEL HOL­LAND Lo­cal democ­racy re­porter daniel.hol­land@reach­plc.com

THE North East has missed out on the chance to house Chan­nel 4’s new head­quar­ters – but could still get a smaller ‘cre­ative hub.’

A joint bid from New­cas­tle and Gateshead has failed to make the short­list for the main base, dash­ing hopes on Ty­ne­side.

The seven lo­ca­tions now com­pet­ing to be­come Chan­nel 4’s new base are Bris­tol, Cardiff, Glas­gow, Greater Manch­ester, Leeds, Liver­pool, and the West Mid­lands.

The New­cas­tle-Gateshead bid will have to com­pete with those seven for the two cre­ative hub op­por­tu­ni­ties, as well as Belfast, Brighton, Not­ting­ham, Sh­effield, and Stoke-on-Trent.

Chan­nel 4’s chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer, Jonathan Al­lan, said: “We’ve been in­cred­i­bly im­pressed both by the num­ber of pitches we re­ceived and by the high qual­ity of the sub­mis­sions – which has un­der­lined the huge amount of creativ­ity, in­no­va­tion and tal­ent right across the UK.

“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.” More than 30 sub­mis­sions were re­ceived from across the UK in the first round of bid­ding. Each of the 13 cities will take part in a sec­ond stage of the process – which will in­clude Chan­nel 4 vis­it­ing each city for a pre­sen­ta­tion and Q&A – be­fore the win­ning bids are re­vealed in Oc­to­ber. Cur­rently, only 30 of Chan­nel 4’s staff are based out­side Lon­don – 25 sales peo­ple in Manch­ester and five em­ploy­ees in Glas­gow – but this will see 300 jobs mov­ing out­side of the cap­i­tal. Ty­ne­side lead­ers had hoped strengths in the digital and cre­ative sec­tors would give them the edge. The Gateshead Quays and the New­cas­tle Helix de­vel­op­ment, for­merly known as Sci­ence Cen­tral, had been iden­ti­fied as po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions for a new Chan­nel 4 head­quar­ters. But of­fi­cials at New­cas­tle Gateshead Ini­tia­tive, which is man­ag­ing the bid, say they are op­ti­mistic about the chance of se­cur­ing one of the smaller hubs.

It is un­der­stood that the cre­ative hubs were seen as a more re­al­is­tic prospect for the re­gion than the na­tional head­quar­ters.

Cather­ine Walker, in­ward in­vest­ment di­rec­tor at New­castleGates-head Ini­tia­tive, said: “On be­half of New­cas­tle and Gateshead coun­cils, we are de­lighted to have been short­listed as a con­tender city for a Chan­nel 4 cre­ative hub.

“To have the broad­caster lo­cate part of its or­gan­i­sa­tion to New-castleGateshead would be a real coup and a great op­por­tu­nity to shine a spotlight on film and TV pro­duc­tion in the re­gion.

“We have so much tal­ent emerg­ing from the uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, and highly-ex­pe­ri­enced and es­tab­lished pro­fes­sion­als al­ready lead­ing the way in the in­dus­try.

“New in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies be­ing de­vel­oped in New­cas­tle-Gateshead will have trans­for­ma­tive ef­fects on the pro­duc­tion and broad­cast­ing in­dus­try and we would wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to work in part­ner­ship with Chan­nel 4 to help de­velop the sec­tor even fur­ther.

“We look for­ward to show­cas­ing New­castleGateshead’s strong of­fer to the Chan­nel 4 team when we wel­come them here dur­ing the next stage.”

To have the broad­caster lo­cate part of its or­gan­i­sa­tion to New­cas­tle Gateshead would be a real coup Cather­ine Walker

Chan­nel 4’s cur­rent na­tional head­quar­ters and fu­ture Lon­don HQ in Horse­ferry Road

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