Channel 4 has announced that Leeds will be the location for their new national headquarters.
Alongside the new regional HQ in Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol will become new Creative Hubs for the broadcaster.
Leeds was chosen over the shortlisted cities Manchester and Birmingham following an extensive pitch process, with over 30 pitches from cities and regions across the UK assessed against Channel 4’s vision and objectives.
In a statement released by Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon and the Channel 4 Board, Leeds was celebrated for putting forward "a comprehensive, compelling and ambitious strategy to partner with Channel 4 and the wider sector to support growth in the production and creative industries, and to nurture new talent from diverse backgrounds – in the region and across the UK."
The move will open up 300 more jobs and take around 200 of its 800 current London staff to the new offices when fully established.
“Diversity and inclusion have always been at the heart of Channel 4’s mission and the launch of our 4 All the UK plan is the biggest and most exciting change in the organisation’s 36-year history – as we open up Channel 4 to people from across the UK and supercharge the impact we have in all parts of the country," said Mahon.
The reshuffle is part of the significant change proposed in the 4 All the UK strategy in March 2018, alongside a significant increase in the organisation’s Nations and Regions content spend to benefit all areas of the UK and to support up to 3,000 production jobs in the Nations and Regions economy.
As well as creating regional job opportunities in the North of England, Channel 4 emphasised the new opportunities for those in the Creative Hubs, praising Bristol's "world-renowned factual producers" and strengths in "animation and digital production", and the "rich cultural diversity" in Glasgow.
Discussions between Channel 4 and ITN have also led to the decision that a major new Channel 4 News hub will be established in Leeds, including a studio that can regularly co-anchor the programme.
Channel 4's chief executive alluded to the HQ move at the RTS London Conference 2018, saying if Channel 4 was being set up for the first time today, “you would not plonk it in SW1.”
She continued, “I went back to basics and asked what would be right for us in terms of public service broadcasting, the remit, and the strategy. If you are there to represent the whole of the UK, appeal to diverse audiences that are not being reached, [setting up in London] would be bonkers.”
Channel 4's new national HQ and Creative Hub locations are expected to occur in late 2019.