Back in March, Channel 4 announced it would be relocating from its London headquarters, inviting cities across the country to bid for the chance to become its new home. Last month, the broadcaster narrowed the shortlist for its new 'national HQ' to three cities: Leeds, Greater Manchester and Birmingham.
With a final decision just around the corner, there's only one city that gets my vote... And that's Brum. Having lived, worked and studied in Birmingham, I offer my two (or rather four) cents on why its the obvious choice for C4's new regional hub.
As the youngest city in Europe – with under 25-year-olds making up nearly 40% of the population – Birmingham is home to Channel 4’s core target audience. The coveted 16 to 34 bracket.
With top-ranked universities for media and creative industries, moving to the city would not only mean moving closer to the people Channel 4 wants to reach but quite possibly the future faces of British broadcasting.
2. Birmingham is booming
There’s a lot to love about Brum. With a booming housing market, world-class learning quarter and a hotbed for start-up innovation, the city is in the midst of a socio-economic renaissance. From a thriving business community bolstered by the announcement of a £100 million fund for Midlands SMEs earlier this year to a cultural revolution that has seen the city secure the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham is finally living up to its name as the UK’s second city.
What’s more, big business is already waking up to the opportunities brought about as a result of inward investment across the region. HSBC made the headlines with its move to a new Birmingham HQ last year. Now, Channel 4 has the opportunity to become part of the city’s wider regeneration story too.
3. Diverse and creative
Birmingham is culturally and ethnically diverse. It might be best known for its iconic Bullring but, with a vibrant Gay Quarter, colourful Chinatown and lively theatre scene, there’s more than just shopping to enjoy in this concrete jungle.
Brum is a melting pot of ideas and creativity that sits well with Channel 4’s brand values as a fearless broadcaster – unafraid of the controversial or risqué in standing up for social action… We are talking about a channel that was forced to abandon its plans for ‘Wank Week’ programming after all.
4. Hungry for success
Finally, Birmingham wants Channel 4. From a #WMgeneration social media campaign and rally of support from local media to the full backing of the city’s metro mayor Andy Street, there’s no mistaking Brum is up for the challenge.
Competition from the other shortlisted cities is tough. But the heart of the UK’s transport network and soon to be HS2 interchange currently has no major TV studios currently… And it’s sure hungry for one.
The final decision on the broadcaster's move is set to be made in October.
Want to share your thoughts on any of the above? I’m always interested to hear feedback on the blog so please get in touch via the comments section below, email me at clairesimpsonpr [at] outlook [dot] com or drop me a line on social media.