Chief Executive David Abraham has announced that Channel 4 plans to invest more money than ever before in the UK independent production sector across 2012.
The broadcaster is pledging nearly £450m of the total network programme budget to original UK content. The investment represents a historic high for the network; signifying an increase of over £80m on the last publically reported figure for yearly spend on UK content which was £362m in 2010.
Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention David Abraham said, “This means that, since I joined Channel 4, we will have increased the annual level of investment in the British creative economy by over £80m – and across a wide spread of companies, both large and small, and throughout the UK. It means jobs for British companies, especially the critical SMEs. And it means the creation of IP, which indies can use to generate additional export revenue, further boosting the UK economy.”
Abraham told the audience that since joining Channel 4 in May 2010, his ambition has been to increase spend on UK original content. He described how he agreed with the Channel 4 Board from the outset that the right course of action was to first assemble and complete a new Executive team and to navigate the channel through its first year without Big Brother in the schedule.
The broadcaster states that they have, across their portfolio of channels, delivered a higher growth in share than any other terrestrial portfolio in 2011 – achieving an 11.6% share, up 2% on 2010’s portfolio share. 2011 was also an extremely strong year for Channel 4’s Sales House, who for the first time generated over £1billion in revenue.
In Channel 4’s first year without Big Brother dominating the schedule the core channel delivered a 6.8% share – only 0.2 percentage share points behind 2010’s performance. This represents the least pronounced year on year decline in core channel share for five years.
“So, while the outlook for 2012 may be uncertain, I enter this year with a sense of confidence, excitement and optimism that Channel 4 is in the midst of one of the most inspiring and creatively stimulating periods in its history.” Abraham added.