Channel 4 Announces Merger of Commissioning Departments and Horseferry Road Exit in Five-Year Strategy

London, England – Channel 4, the popular broadcasting network, has announced a major restructuring plan that includes merging various commissioning departments and relocating from its current Horseferry Road premises. The network’s CEO, Alex Mahon, revealed the “Fast Forward” strategy, which aims to streamline operations and focus on content that drives streaming. As part of the plan, several layoffs will occur in the commissioning department, with multiple departments being consolidated.

Caroline Hollick’s TV drama department will merge with Ollie Madden’s team at Film4. Additionally, the documentaries and factual entertainment departments will combine, as will the entertainment and reality divisions. E4, the network’s portfolio channel, will also undergo restructuring, with commissions at E4 being organized by genre and digital reporting going directly to Ian Katz, the content boss.

The decision to merge departments and downsize the commissioning team was made in response to the challenging financial climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the advertising market, prompting Channel 4 to make changes to adapt to a digital-first world. Approximately 200 staff members will be laid off, and around 40 unfilled roles will be eliminated, reducing the overall workforce by 18%.

In addition to the restructuring, Channel 4 announced that it will be relocating from its long-standing Horseferry Road premises in the coming years. The network plans to find a new office space in central London that aligns with its shift towards flexible working and its goal of having 600 roles based outside of London by the end of 2025. This move represents Channel 4’s most significant round of layoffs in 15 years.

The “Fast Forward” strategy also includes plans to close small linear channels that no longer generate substantial revenues or provide significant public value. Channel 4 will focus on creating fewer, stronger titles with greater scale and impact, as well as investing in growth businesses to diversify its revenue streams. The network’s content strategy and planning director, Kiran Nataraja, will take on an expanded role as the director of streaming and content strategy.

Despite the challenges, CEO Alex Mahon remains optimistic about the future of Channel 4. She emphasized that the changes are necessary to navigate the rapidly changing advertising market and ensure the network’s long-term sustainability. In 2022, Channel 4’s revenues decreased by 2%, and the company is expected to face a tougher financial year in 2023. However, Mahon is confident that the “Fast Forward” strategy will position Channel 4 for success in the digital era.