Channel 4 has revealed the shortlist of seven cities and regions that could be the home of its new national HQ.
The company wants to move 300 of its 800 staff out of London to a national headquarters and two “creative hubs”.
The seven shortlisted locations could house either the national HQ or a creative hub. They are Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and the West Midlands.
Six more areas are also in the running, but to be a creative hub only.
They are Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent.
More than 30 bids were submitted from around the UK. Channel 4 currently has 30 staff based outside London – 25 salespeople in Manchester and five employees in Glasgow.
Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan, who’s leading the pitch process, said they had been “incredibly impressed” by the number of submissions and the “high quality” of the applicants.
The current headquarters is on London’s Horseferry Road.
He said those shortlisted “are best able to meet our vision for our new hubs in the nations and regions”.
The final locations will then be chosen in October, with the new headquarters and hubs due to open next year.
It will have a new studio, which has “the potential to be a base for daily programmes”, said Channel 4. Its current Horseferry Road offices will remain as the channel’s London HQ.
Although 300 jobs will move initially, the channel says it wants that number to grow over time.
The partial relocation is part of Channel 4’s plan, 4 All the UK, which is described as the biggest structural change to the channel since it launched 35 years ago.
Screen Yorkshire has welcomed today’s news that two Yorkshire locations are now through to the next round of Channel 4’s pitch process to host its National HQ and Creative Hub. At lunchtime today, Channel 4 announced that the Leeds City Region has been shortlisted to bid for its National Headquarters (the only location east of the Pennines to have made it) and one of two Creative Hubs; additionally Sheffield has been shortlisted to bid for a Creative Hub.
Sally Joynson, Chief Executive, Screen Yorkshire said: “We are delighted that Channel 4 has shortlisted both Leeds City Region and Sheffield as potential hosts for its National HQ and Creative Hubs respectively. As Yorkshire locations on the east of the Pennines, we firmly believe they each have dynamic creative sectors that can both support Channel 4’s strategic plans and better reflect the rich diversity of voices the UK.
We are looking forward to continuing our work with the Leeds City Region on the next stage of the selection process, where we can showcase the wealth of programme-making, digital expertise and talent that is located here.”
Screen Yorkshire has played a pivotal role, along with other industry partners, in putting together the Leeds City Region bid, since Channel 4 invited cities and regions to pitch for its National HQ and two Creative Hubs in April.
From the initial 30+ submissions, the Leeds City Region is now one of only seven bidders to have been invited to the second stage of the process for Channel 4’s National HQ. They will present their bid to Channel 4 over the next few months and participate in a Q&A session, before the broadcaster makes its final decision on a location for its National HQ in October.