Tuesday 14 September 2021
Channel 4 has officially opened its brand new Leeds headquarters with hundreds of jobs moving north.
The national broadcaster first announced it would be opening a new HQ in Leeds in 2019 at the Majestic. The Majestic is a Grade II listed Leeds building that dates back to the 1920s. Once a cinema it has since evolved and its use changed to Channel 4’s new regional headquarters.
It marks the biggest shake-up in the broadcaster's 39-year history.
Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4, pledged to spend half of Channel 4’s total £700m annual programme budget on shows made by TV production companies based outside London by 2023, up from £169m. Last year the proportion had shot up to 47%.
A number of roles will be based out of the new Leeds HQ, including the Channel 4 news hub, the creative department and the digital creative unit. Caroline Hollick, the head of drama, and the head of sport, Pete Andrews, are among the most high-profile names moving to Yorkshire.
To mark the official opening Alex Mahon, alongside Ian Katz, chief content officer and Jonathan Allan, chief operating officer hosted a virtual launch event, highlighting the success of the company’s move not just geographically but also its change in focus.
Commenting on the official move into the Majestic, Mahon said: “I’m thrilled to say that we’re at the heart of the city and we’re playing a growing role in the North of England’s creative clusters.
“I’m particularly proud that Leeds has been a main base for our coverage of the Tokyo Paralympic Games.”
Allan outlined how the business is accelerating and industry leading in its adoption of digital.
He noted that the aim is to double viewer numbers on its digital platform All4, as it looks to evolve from being a “linear broadcaster to a digital streamer” through its Future4 initiative.
However, this disruption – something Mahon noted is at the heart of Channel 4’s ethos alongside a little irreverence – is in fact being led from Leeds through its new 4Studio, which now employs 70 people in the city and recently took on its first cohort in the 4Skills programme designed to support young people entering the industry at grass roots.
This is a really exciting milestone for Leeds & ERE Property are thrilled that Channel 4 have now moved in.