Reports suggest that changes in the law could force Channel 4 to relocate its headquarters outside of London. The news comes after the TV channel has dragged its heels over choosing a new home. But I think it’s a golden opportunity that the station should not treat as a burden.
To save Channel 4 from privatisation, the Conservative Government mandated that the station would have to move to another area of the UK. Culture secretary, Karen Bradley has said that Channel 4 should, "do more to support economic growth and provide for audiences outside of London".
Despite this, the station has dragged its heels over the move, going as far as claiming that switching location would be “highly damaging”. Former chief executive David Abraham even stated that it would “destroy” the channel.
Before this fiasco started, I hadn’t given any thought to where Channel 4 had its headquarters, because it really doesn’t make any difference. The technological revolution has enabled a working environment where you can work remotely without your workforce even being in the same country - to say it cannot survive outside of a particular city is ridiculous.
There are many Media related sectors that aren’t confined to London. Take public relations as an example. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has members spread across 13 regional groups, with the Midlands having the lion’s share of members outside of the greater London area.
Trade media also moved out of London, with some of the biggest media houses like IML Group, Datateam and the Rapid Communications Group based across the country, in Kent and Chester.
Channel 4 bills itself as “paid for by advertising, owned by you” and made its name by being at the forefront of challenging themes, hard issues and change. But, how can a national business that is unwilling to see the value in moving outside of London truly claim it is owned by the British people?
Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Sheffield, have all been proposed for the new headquarters. All have plenty of potential for Channel 4 and would benefit greatly from the employment and opportunities that would come with being home to one of the nation’s top TV channels.
Channel 4 should stop dragging its heels and get excited about this change, because it is a good thing.
If you’re thinking of setting up a business, where ever you are in the UK, don’t forget to check out your local Chamber of Commerce, like this one in Staffordshire, and Growth Hubs like this one to find out how they can support you with advice and funding.
If you are launching a new business venture and want to get your content in the relevant trade media, don’t forget to give us a call on +44 (0)1785 225416 or e-mail [email protected] to see how we can help.