Channel 4 has today (Tuesday 30 May) announced that the West Midlands has been shortlisted to be the home for the broadcaster’s new national HQ.
This success follows the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) making a formal bid to bring Channel 4 (C4) to the region earlier in May. The bid focused on potential sites in Birmingham and Coventry, highlighting the many strengths of the West Midlands under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’.
The WMCA bid had received wide ranging support from stakeholders, major media players, creative organisations and local businesses, as the West Midlands united to demonstrate the wealth of innovation, talent and ambition that exists across the region. This includes the region’s three Local Enterprise Partnerships, which are non-constituent members of the WMCA.
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has backed the bid to bring Channel 4 to the West Midlands, providing some financial support and the input of its sector experts.
Tim Pile, Chair of GBSLEP, commented:
It is hugely exciting news that Channel 4 has shortlisted the West Midlands for its national headquarters. This is a clear sign of confidence in the region, its businesses and people by a major broadcaster and employer.
“Organisations across the West Midlands are harnessing the power of working together to maximise the region’s potential. GBSLEP has supported the region’s Channel 4 bid for some time – and we will continue to collaborate with our partners throughout this process, to ensure that the West Midlands has the best possible chance of becoming Channel 4’s new home.”
There will be now a period of further consultation, which will see the WMCA work in partnership with Channel 4 to highlight the benefits of moving to the West Midlands. The final announcement is expected at the end of 2018, with the broadcaster moving to the new HQ in 2019.
C4 is seeking to establish three new creative hubs outside London, as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy. The largest of these hubs will become the national headquarters, consisting of offices, a new studio, a base for daily programmes and a new digital production unit. The WMCA is confident that C4 will recognise that the West Midlands is the ideal choice as it looks to improve its representation across the nation.
The WMCA bid was based around the key strapline ‘Get Closer’:
The region’s unparalleled connectedness will enable C4 to: access the broadest pool of talent, ideas and resources, a bigger supply chain and a broader outlook, and to sustain close and genuine links with other key locations and networks while getting closer to those whose stories you want to tell.
We are the most diverse region in the country (47% BAME population in Birmingham and 34% in Coventry), and we celebrate diversity of opinion. In the West Midlands diversity is all around and C4 can be at the heart of it.
The West Midlands is fertile ground for a new kind of broadcasting pioneered by Channel 4.
The West Midlands is about to go global like no other UK region in history. We’re preparing to host Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.