Birmingham and the West Midlands will be under the media spotlight during the next 10 days, starting with a visit today (June 27) by Channel 4.
The broadcaster is coming to see for itself the strength of the region’s bid to become the home of its “national headquarters” as part of its plans to move around 300 jobs out of London.
Meanwhile, next week, in a separate initiative, the Huffington Post is relocating its UK newsroom of 45 journalists to Birmingham to report from the city for the whole of next week. Polly Curtis, editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK, said she “wanted to shift our centre of gravity away from London”, albeit temporarily.
Channel 4 is, however, planning a more permanent relocation from the capital city. The West Midlands, which is putting forward sites in Birmingham and Coventry, is on a shortlist that includes Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
The Huffington Post project is being run in partnership with the Birmingham Mail, which will see the two collaborate n a number of joint stories to explore issues such as affordable housing, hidden homelessness and air pollution.
Channel 4 has highlighted five key considerations that the successful bidder will perform strongly on – demography and diversity, availability of talent, local connectivity, travel links to London and its creative hubs, and the suitability of available office space.
The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “This is our chance to do the pitch of our lives for a prize which everybody involved recognises could have a profound impact on the region. Channel 4 coming to our diverse, young region at a time when we are enjoying economic success and learning how to win again would be a huge boost.
“Clearly, the West Midlands has certain advantages – not least our unrivalled connectivity, a sense of unity and purpose among everybody involved in the bid and also the fact our digital sector – the biggest outside London by some significant margin – provides Channel 4 with the opportunity to work with us to forge the future of television.”
The delegation from C4 will include its chief executive Alex Mahon, chief executive and chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan, who is heading up the bid process.