Relocating Channel 4 to Birmingham would create 3,400 jobs
Written by Jon Coldridge
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
Since Channel 4 announced that it was on the lookout for a new home, cities across the country have been vying for the chance to win the TV juggernaut over. Birmingham is no different. And, if a recently published government report is anything to go by, it’s a move that would be highly beneficial to both the city and newscaster.
Findings published in a study by independent economists and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department, found that the move would create a whopping 3,412 jobs in the region. That’s not all; in addition to the range of roles it would generate – from writers and equipment techs, to managers, IT experts and receptionists – Birmingham could also witness a £235 million boost to its economy.
As the Birmingham Mail notes, the biggest challenge facing the broadcaster is actually moving its office. Back in 2004 when the BBC announced it would be moving a significant portion of its operations from the capital to Salford in Greater Manchester, many members of staff refused to part with the Big Smoke.
Moreover, with so many cities courting the channel, Birmingham needs to get peacocking. Which is why West Midlands mayor Andy Street has teamed up with the West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as seven local councils in the region, to make an official bid to be the channel’s new home. The cohort has already identified potential sites for the new HQ, including the planned HS2 Curzon Street station in central Birmingham or the HS2 interchange station in Solihull.
The study, conducted by Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates Ltd and Europe Economics, revealed that the move would directly produce 790 jobs in the region. Meanwhile, hundreds of other roles will be indirectly created, for instance, through the knock-on effect on local businesses.
While this could spell trouble for the country’s capital, the impact on the UK overall would be a very positive one. The researchers behind the study posit that the move could increase the number of jobs nationwide and that the economy would grow by £10 million. Moreover, industry has long favoured London, so maybe it’s time to spread the innovation.
The report furthered that even a partial relocation would greatly benefit the West Midlands, creating 2,481 jobs and bolstering the local economy by £117 million. Moreover, this would quell some of the concerns the London-based staff have as it would mean that those who don’t want to move, won’t have to.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said this of the move: “This independent analysis makes clear the potential benefits of Channel 4 increasing its impact outside the capital, and we hope to agree a way forward so that the broadcaster truly reflects and represents the full diversity of the UK.”
Many other cities have also thrown their hats in, with interest coming from Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield, Stafford, Stoke and York. While there is still no word on whether the move will happen – and indeed, to where – it is an exciting time for media workers.