Channel 4 has officially opened its doors for business in Leeds; having launched their new Leeds-based National HQ in mid-October. They have created a new media city in Yorkshire and boosted the sector’s local economy.
The Channel 4 National HQ will be the home of their creative, digital, and technology departments. It will also be where a number of the programme commissioners are based; hugely helping to realise Channel 4’s aim of increasing the proportion of programmes it makes outside of London. Their goal is to grow this from 35% to 50% by 2023, which will be worth an extra £250 million.
Leeds to be the logical place for Channel 4
The independent trade association Pact has called Leeds the logical place to be for Channel 4 thanks to the city’s flourishing independent production companies. In fact, according to Screen Yorkshire, Yorkshire’s film and TV industries grew faster than anywhere else in the UK between 2009 and 2015.
Sinead Rocks, Channel 4’s managing director of nation and regions said Leeds was chosen over Birmingham and Greater Manchester due to its young and diverse population. She went on to praise the city’s “very healthy digital creative sector”. As well as the “strong independent production community”, saying they could both help Channel 4 grow further.
Channel 4 will be temporarily based in the West Gate development until they move to their permanent location – the Majestic – in 2020. Currently adorned with a facade announcing Channel 4’s upcoming ‘media revolution’. The Majestic is already well-known as once being the nightclub that inspired the Kaiser Chiefs song ‘I Predict a Riot’.
New job opportunities
The launch of the National HQ will no doubt benefit the city’s already thriving economy. Also being brought to Leeds are the 250 Channel 4 jobs; their location will mean fewer people will have to move outside of the city to further their media careers.
Channel 4 in Leeds acted as a ‘huge catalyst for growth in creative sectors’
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “The announcement that Channel 4 will be joining us in Leeds has acted as a huge catalyst for growth in our film, TV and creative sectors over the past year as well as creating an unprecedented buzz about what the future holds for everyone involved in those industries.
“With demand for more studio space in the city already high; it’s also meant that we’ve been able to further support some incredibly imaginative and forward-thinking plans. In which will see places like the Polestar Petty printworks and Engine House become state-of-the-art facilities. Creating a number of new jobs, bringing further investment to the city and helping those sectors to flourish.
“This is an exciting time to be in Leeds and to be part of making that shared vision of our city as a hub for creativity and innovation a reality.”