Channel 4 has announced a shortlist which will compete to become the broadcaster’s new out-of-London home, after receiving more than 30 submissions before settling on the seven large metropolitan centres for its new HQ.

Underpinning the remarkable amount of creativity, innovation and talent across the UK, the cities competing to become the home of the broadcaster’s second national headquarters include Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands.

Could Channel 4 gain advantages of residing in a Northern Powerhouse city?

After resisting government plans to sell its Horseferry Road London headquarters, Channel 4’s relocation aims to reap the benefits of a new location outside of the capital – the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history.

In March, Channel 4 launched ‘4 all the UK’, a strategy to ensure Channel 4 is serving the whole of the UK and a new plan which will provide a significant boost to investment and jobs. One major commitment, at the heart of the Channel 4 move, is to significantly increase its Nations & Regions content spend from its current quota of 35% to a new target of 50% by 2023. This will consequently result in a cumulative boost of over £250m in Channel 4’s Nations & Regions commissioning spend which will have a positive impact on supporting creative businesses and regional economies.

To help guide and catalyse this spend across the UK, Channel 4 will operate from a multi-site model by establishing state-of-the-art smaller creative hubs and a distinct new creative HQ. Expanding Channel 4 will boost the news channel’s footprint and offer a momentous boost to regional representation. When the strategy materialises and is complete, 3000 additional production jobs will be generated with the intention to advance this statistic over time.

Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s Chief Executive said: “As a public service broadcaster with diversity in its DNA, Channel 4 has a unique ability to reflect our society. This is a significant and exciting moment of change for Channel 4 as we evolve to ensure we are best suited to serve all of the UK”.

The broadcaster stated its impending second base must be in a city with a working population of more than 200,000 people, travel time to London of less than three hours, and high-quality physical and digital infrastructure. Residing up north, is an example of how large organisations are increasingly turning to Northern Powerhouse cities in the hope of seeking better standard of living for its employees than the capital offers, all at a competitively reduced price.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson pitched his city as a ‘soulmate’ for Channel 4, “Liverpool and Channel 4 are soulmates in so many ways, in our attitude, spirit and creative output.”

“This is a hotly contested bidding competition and to reach this next stage in the process demonstrates Liverpool’s pulling power as a location that offers businesses and their employees a great work/life balance,” he said.

Liverpool would inevitably see significant investment as well as major cultural benefits as a result of the move.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram states Liverpool is the north’s most cultural city renowned for its creativity and zest for innovation, “Liverpool has everything Channel 4 needs – amazing locations, quick and easy access to production hubs” and would “revolutionise the city region’s creative industry.

“From the written word, through performance, sport and production, to the national museums and leading-edge science and technology, Liverpool is always a first mover,” he added.

Similarly, an early favourite on hosting the new Channel 4 headquarters was Manchester. Media City in Salford already hosts a BBC base of around 2,700 people transplanted from London. The destination houses sport, CBeebies, Radio 5 Live as well as programmes like Dragons’ Den and Mastermind. Also home to ITV, the significant operation includes 750 staff working on productions such as Coronation Street.

Andy Burnham, the major of Greater Manchester said Manchester is Channel 4’s “only viable option outside of London”.

The North of England is at the forefront of British innovation and continues to pioneer in a wide range of business sectors. Companies from down south are increasingly moving up north to take advantage of lower rental prices and increased opportunity creating a secure, profitable relocation for Channel 4.

The final location will be revealed on October 1st, 2018.

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