Channel 4 dispute the figures and say decisions have yet to be made by many staff.
Whatever the truth, large numbers of London-based staff refusing to move to a regional outpost is not unprecedented in the London-focused world of broadcasting. The BBC’s efforts to relocate staff to Media City in Salford saw roughly two-thirds of senior staff refuse to move, and the proportion was higher still when the BBC offered relocations to Birmingham. But even so it raises questions about the value of regional relocations.
Tom Stannard is Corporate Director Regeneration & Economic Growth at Wakefield Council, one of those West Yorkshire districts hoping to benefit from Channel 4 relocation spin-offs.
Tom says he expects to see real benefits, but hints that relocation efforts need to focus less on the property case, and more on winning round the staff.
‘We’re hoping to see significant growth due to the Channel 4 supply chain,’ says Tom. ‘We already have a significant digital and media sector, and we want to grow them. In Wakefield we’re strong on video gaming and on performing arts support services, so it will be exciting for us.’
There are already encouraging signs of others following in Channel 4’s wake. Following the announcement, production companies, including Endemol spin-out, Workerbee, and broadcaster, UKTV, have announced plans to expand in the region.