The Channel 4 effect is taking hold as five media businesses announce investments in the Leeds City Region…
They promised it would have a transformational impact on the Leeds City Region and now it’s actually happening. Channel 4’s decision to open their new National HQ in Leeds has already attracted investment from a slew of top-notch independents and organisations. From the world’s biggest independent producer to a new label from Lime Pictures and Shiver founder Mark Robinson, find out what’s in the pipeline for Leeds.
True North TV is one of the North’s biggest factual independent production companies. They have a string of successful Channel 4 documentaries under their belt, including A New Life in the Sun, Random Acts and Mystery of the Man on the Moor, so it’s no wonder that news of the new National HQ bolstered their confidence in Leeds. They’ve recently announced a major expansion of their operation at Marshalls Mill that will see them take on an additional 3,910 square foot to open their new post-production facilities.
“With Channel 4 moving to Leeds there has never been a better time to be an established production company in the city, and Marshalls Mill is a brilliant location to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead,” Co-founder and Creative Director of True North, Andrew Sheldon, told us.
UKTV was the first British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list. They’re the power behind 11 popular brands, including Dave, Gold and Alibi – they even have their own free on-demand TV service. And now they’re moving 10 specialists to a ‘television innovation hub’ in Leeds to improve their content distribution capabilities.
“Leeds was chosen because it is one of the UK’s most accessible cities with superb transport links, and it is fast emerging as a creative hub, with over 1,350 tech companies based in the area,” Chief Technology and Operations Officer, Sinead Greenaway, explained. “It is also home to two large universities, offering access to young talent keen to enter the industry.”
Lime Pictures has teamed up with Shiver founder Mark Robinson to launch Wise Owl Films, a new non-scripted label in Leeds. Over his 25-year career, Robinson has created over 200 different series, including May The Best House Win and Last Laugh In Vegas. Now he’ll be joined by an award-winning team to create shows that celebrate, examine and reflect on popular culture and social history.
“This is an incredibly exciting time to be making shows in the North of England – and in particular in Leeds. It feels like a city whose time has finally come; we’re determined that Wise Owl is going to be at the heart of it all, playing a key part in the next step of Leeds’ journey,” Mark Robinson explained.
PACT is the trade association that represents the UK’s independent television production companies. They were big supporters of Channel 4’s decision to move its National HQ outside of London and now they’re following suit by opening their own Leeds office in recognition of the fact that nearly 50% of the UK’s original programming spend is now in the UK’s Nations and Regions.
“It’s a particularly exciting moment to be an indie in the Nations and Regions. Diverse audiences across the UK want to see themselves authentically reflected in the television they watch and so Channel 4’s relocation and commitment to increasing commissioning spend can only be a good thing for indies and for audiences,” PACT’s CEO, John McVay, explained. “PACT is very excited to be basing its new team in Leeds, a city that encapsulates the creativity, energy and talent that exists in the nations and regions of the UK”
Endemol Shine North
Endemol Shine North is the world’s biggest independent producer. They have 120 production labels across 23 markets – and they’re growing fast. In the last 12 months alone, their commissioned hours have increased by more than 105%. And that growth has brought them to Leeds. Led by Executive Producer Darrell Brown, their new office will focus on producing true crime and documentary content.
The move will mark a new chapter of the company’s history as they rebrand to Workerbee. “It’s an exciting time for the business. We are growing, we are opening a new office in Leeds, we are expanding creatively, so now seems like the perfect time to launch our new identity,” Rick Murray, Workerbee Managing Director, explained.
Thinking of moving your business to Leeds? Funding is available…
With Channel 4 moving to Leeds, it’s more important than ever to invest in our future. #Welcome, the Leeds City Region Digital Inward Investment Fund, is here to help creative, digital and technology business move into the UK’s digital heartland – and the money can be used to fund anything from office fit outs to equipment, IT consultancy and design consultancy.