Since October 2018, Channel 4 has steadily pursued its plans to move its headquarters from south-west London to Leeds. Current updates, almost halfway through the relocation process, give a clearer idea of plans and opinions. The general consensus is mixed, with some people expressing unease about such a drastic transformation and others excitement at its prospects.
The only thing that’s certain is that the broadcaster’s decision is already making an impact on both London and Leeds, not to mention its employees. Channel 4 is such an established name in the TV business that the move was bound to make ripples.
Channel 4’s Status
According to the broadcaster’s 2018 report, last year’s overall TV viewing, only outshone by BBC and ITV, reached 78.7%, contributing to its £975m corporation revenue. Channel 4 is clearly not only trusted as a source of entertainment but also as a hub of opportunities in the industry, either for TV series or people interested in working in media.
It’s hardly surprising then that south-west Londoners are sad to lose Channel 4’s HQ, one of the region’s major landmarks and employers.
As the home of top TV shows like The Inbetweeners, Peep Show and Black Mirror, this broadcaster is known for providing quality and innovative entertainment from the heart of the UK lifestyle. Don’t forget that it was Channel 4 that ran Deal or No Deal for 11 years.
Even after its cancellation in December 2016, the trademark TV game show still appears in gambling games online through providers such as Paddy Power. Those 26 boxes and their wily banker wouldn’t have persevered without Channel 4’s charm and its viewers’ support.
The old headquarters on 124 Horseferry Road, owned and managed by Landsec as part of the firm’s high-end Victoria properties, was designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning firm Richard Rogers Partnership. There’s still no word as to who will be moving into the impressive building after Channel 4 leaves but, as a perfect busy location for any ambitious company to enjoy – not far from Burberry HQ – it shouldn’t take long for a replacement to be found.
Channel 4’s Future
The Majestic, an iconic Leeds building formerly used as a cinema and nightclub, will be the broadcaster’s HQ in the second half of 2020. The BBC goes on to report that Bristol and Glasgow are receiving their own centres as part of Channel 4’s plan to expand its investment in programmes outside of London by £250m within the next five years. 200 of its staff members are already moving to Leeds with their employer. The question on everyone’s lips is whether this change in location and direction is worthwhile.
The main concern is that employees, some with whole families, are being asked to uproot themselves for a venture that will take time to flourish, as Andre Sheldon explains through the Guardian. But he also believes in the transformative nature of Channel 4’s big move and he’s not alone.
An outpouring of positive messages has followed the refusal of some employees and executives to relocate. Susie Field, once from south London’s Streatham, gushes about how wonderful Leeds living is and adds her support of the opportunity given by Channel 4 in broadening people’s experiences and views of the UK.
Channel 4 really is making a bold move but one which is expected to pay off in new and exciting ways. Everyone, viewers and employees alike, eagerly await to see how the broadcaster’s journey will unfold once settled into its brand new Leeds headquarters. That’s when its impact will truly be felt.