LONDON — The Conservative Party has promised to move Channel 4 out of its iconic home in London.
“Channel 4 will remain publicly owned and will be relocated out of London,” the party announced in its manifesto which was published on Thursday morning.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley had intially announced in March that the government would launch a consultation around moving the “Gogglebox” and “Catastrophe” broadcaster to another city. However, today’s announcement means it will now go ahead.
Proposals to move Channel 4 out of its £96 million Horseferry Road headquarters have been justified as an attempt to spread its £630 million spending power over different parts of the UK, potentially fostering growth in the creative industries outside of London. Birmingham and Manchester have been mooted as potential new homes by several TV industry sources.
When Bradley’s consultation was announced in March, Channel 4 said a relocation would be “highly damaging.” A new statement, circulated on Thursday, is rather softer in its language. A Channel 4 spokesman said:
“Channel 4 already delivers a significant impact in the UK’s nations and regions and we want to continue to work with government as part of its consultation to explore meaningful ways to grow this further and support jobs, investment and growth in the creative economy across the whole of the UK. In doing so we want to ensure that Channel 4 remains commercially sustainable and is able to maximise its investment in original British-produced programming.”
The news comes as Channel 4 is entering the final stages of finding a new chief executive. Sources have told Business Insider that final interviews are taking place this week. Internal candidate, chief creative officer Jay Hunt, is the current frontrunner, the sources said.
Channel 4 owns the freehold to its Horseferry Road HQ, which is valued at nearly £100 million in its latest annual report. The property has dramatically increased in value in recent years, rising from £85 million in 2014.
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