City launches bid to lure Channel 4

Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor

Stakeholders in Birmingham have outlined to the Government why the city would be the perfect place for broadcaster Channel 4 to relocate to.

The Government has formally started the relocation process in a consultation document entitled Increasing the Regional Impact of Channel 4 Corporation.

Birmingham is still smarting by the snub delivered to it by the BBC in relocating much of its broadcasting operation to Media City in Salford.

With the prospect of Channel 4 being ousted from its London home, the city is keen that it will not miss out a second time.

Wasting little time in confirming its interest in Birmingham becoming the host city, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has already submitted a response to the consultation document.

The consultation seeks views on how Channel 4 could most effectively contribute to regional economic growth, stimulate creative industries outside the capital, and better serve regional audiences.

The West Midlands’ submission also outlines the substantial economic and cultural benefits that the broadcaster would bring to the West Midlands.

The WMCA predicts that Channel 4’s relocation to the region could directly generate £2.3bn of gross value added (GVA) between 2021 and 2030. It would also create £2.7bn of indirect GVA during the same period, by stimulating further development of the local creative cluster.

The WMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan aims to grow the region’s creative sector by £7bn by 2030; the arrival of Channel 4 is predicted to generate a total of £5bn.

Andy Street was keen to outline the city’s case during his campaign to become the region’s first directly-elected mayor.

Commenting on the WMCA submission, he said: “If we are successful in persuading Channel 4 to relocate to the West Midlands, the impact on our region would be genuinely transformative.

“Not only would our creative and digital sectors receive a massive boost, but there would also be huge regeneration and investment benefits.

“The West Midlands offers the ideal opportunity for a relocated Channel 4. Our pitch is that Channel 4 could thrive here in the West Midlands and we stand ready to work in partnership with them to make a success of any move.”

The submission highlights how the West Midlands is a renowned business and creative hub that would provide the least disruptive option for a relocation. It states that the region has a strong track record in welcoming other major relocations such as global bank HSBC, and investors including BBC Three, Amazon, Jaguar Land Rover and HS2 Ltd. Its skills workforce has been a key factor in attracting and retaining these firms, while the West Midlands is also cost-effective, with prime rents at 50% below London’s rates.