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U.K.’s Channel 4 Sets $40 Million Global Format Fund, Digital Expansion

Courtesy of Alex Mahon

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has announced a Global Format Fund that will invest in new British-created and produced formats with global potential that will initially be worth £30 million ($40 million) over two years.

Channel 4 will guarantee minimum runs and recommissioning triggers up front for projects greenlit under this approach. The Fund will focus on genres with the greatest potential for global format success, including daytime, factual entertainment, features and entertainment.

The Fund is part of Channel 4’s new Future4 strategy that was outlined on Thursday. The strategy has a clear remit of doubling viewing to the broadcaster’s All 4 catch-up service over the next five years.

There will also be an increased focus on investing more in content that performs strongly on All 4, like youth-skewing factual entertainment, “box-settable” and noisy documentaries, reality, comedy entertainment, scripted comedy and youth-skewing “bingeable” drama.

In addition, Channel 4 will scale up 4Studio, the new digital content studio based in Leeds, to build and more effectively monetize the organization’s footprint in social media.

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “As we emerge from this pandemic, I believe the need has never been greater for a public service broadcaster like ours: one that can represent the unheard in our society, can challenge misinformation, and can create change through entertainment for all U.K. viewers and for our creative sector.”

“Our ongoing focus is to continue to deliver our purpose and remit with meaningful scale and impact and I’m incredibly proud that we have already moved our viewing and our advertising revenues to digital at a faster rate than our competitors,” Mahon added. “We want to push this even further still, and our new Future4 strategy is about underpinning our commercial sustainability and ensuring that we have a clear plan to transform ourselves into a digital public service media organization that delivers across the whole of the U.K. for the future.”

“Over the coming year we’ll do our best to offer viewers an escape from the grimness of a COVID ravaged world with a schedule packed with fun and joy including sparkling new scripted comedy, fabulous new formats like ‘Living Wild’ and more of viewers’ favourites from ‘The Dog House’ and ‘Snackmasters’ to uproariously funny entertainment like ‘Taskmaster,” said Channel 4’s director of programs Ian Katz. “I’m determined that however miserable the news is outside our living rooms, Channel 4 will be an oasis of joy in a joyless age.”

Variety's Naman Ramachandran contributed to this post.


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