Category Archives: News

Birmingham in final three for Channel 4

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Channel 4 (C4) has announced today (Monday 23/7) that the West Midlands has made the final stage of the pitch process to host its new national HQ.

The broadcaster has selected Birmingham along with Greater Manchester & Leeds as the three final locations for its new home, as it looks to expand its presence outside of the capital.

The headquarters will consist of a new studio, a base for daily programmes, a new digital production unit and offices, creating hundreds of jobs across all areas of C4’s business, and enhancing the region’s reputation as place for creative companies to grow.

The West Midlands will also be in the running to host one of C4’s new regional, creative hubs, should its bid for the national HQ, be unsuccessful. The other cities shortlisted as potential creative hub locations are: Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow.

The next stage of the process will involve C4 working with the West Midlands’ campaign team for a more in-depth assessment of the commercial aspects of the bid and to look at specific locations for the broadcaster’s new home.

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s great news that Birmingham has been shortlisted. We’re a perfect fit for Channel 4, with a wealth of knowledge and creativity, combined with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe.

“We have the digital skills, the talent and the energy needed to make the move a major success and Channel 4 has a huge opportunity to tap into a city and a region of huge potential.”

Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “We are naturally disappointed at today’s announcement.

“What does not change is that our city offers excellent transport links, a young, diverse population and a reputation for design and innovation which makes us an attractive option for potential investors along with our central location that means we are within two hours of 40 million people.

“Although we believed Coventry was the perfect choice, if it wasn’t to be us, the next best result is for Channel 4 to select a location in the vicinity. Therefore, it is good to see Birmingham is still in the running to host Channel 4 and we wish them well in their endeavours.

“But the future for Coventry is very bright and we continue to look forward to our Year of Wellbeing in 2019, our European City of Sport status next year and of course being UK City of Culture in 2021 as well as being named home of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.”

The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Channel 4 has today confirmed Birmingham is on the final shortlist to be the broadcaster’s new national HQ. Clearly, this is excellent news and I would like to thank everybody who has worked with us on the bid.

“As a region, we encouraged and supported a bid by both Birmingham and Coventry, so it is disappointing that the latter has not made the shortlist. Everyone in Coventry should be proud of the confidence and energy of their efforts.

“Now, it is important the whole region gets behind the Birmingham bid. If we are successful in attracting the HQ, the benefits will be felt across the West Midlands.

“The West Midlands is the natural choice for Channel 4. Our unrivalled connectivity, the diverse and young nature of our population and the strength of our creative and digital economy mean we have a really compelling case for Birmingham.

“Now we up our game and find another gear as we continue discussions with the broadcaster ahead of the final decision.”

The campaign to convince C4 to move to the West Midlands saw a cast of creative talent, including: Adil Ray (writer/actor/director); Steven Knight (screenwriter/film director); Debbie Isitt, creator of film franchise Nativity; and local poet Casey Bailey, highlight the strength of talent that exists across the region at the end of June to a delegation from C4, which included chief executive Alex Mahon.

The WMCA bid highlights the many strengths of the West Midlands under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’, including: the region’s unparalleled connectedness to talent, ideas and resources, its youth and diversity, and the ongoing success and development the region is experiencing such as Coventry named UK City of Culture 2021, and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

C4 is seeking to establish its new national HQ and creative hubs outside London, as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy. The final announcement will be in October, with the broadcaster moving to the new HQ in 2019.

West Midlands works as one to bring Channel 4 to the region

The campaign to convince Channel 4 (C4) to choose the West Midlands for its new national HQ reached fever pitch today (Wednesday 27/6) with the formal presentation to the broadcaster.

The West Midlands pitch team was a mixture of political leaders and industry experts, who worked as one to highlight the multiple reasons and benefits that make the region such an attractive proposition to the broadcaster.

The formal pitch was part of C4’s tour across the nation as it visits the shortlisted cities to assess the viability of each bid. The delegation from C4 included: Alex Mahon, chief executive; Jonathan Allan, chief commercial officer; Sophie Jones, head of corporate relations; Kathryn Barry, HR business partner; Gill Wilson, consultant/former head of features; Will Fox, project manager – Nations and Regions.

As part of the pitch, the West Midlands assembled a cast of creative talent, which included: Adil Ray (writer/actor/director); Steven Knight (screenwriter/film director); Debbie Isitt, creator of film franchise Nativity; and local poet Casey Bailey.

The formal bid from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) featured: Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council; and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive, Coventry City Council. The leaders of Birmingham and Coventry City Councils were also on hand to lend their support to the bid.

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “A wealth of knowledge and creativity, combined with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe, make Birmingham a perfect fit for Channel 4.

“There’s never been a better time to come to the West Midlands. Our thriving region is undergoing an exciting cultural renaissance and we have the digital skills, talent and energy needed to make the move a huge success.”

Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “We were delighted to meet the Channel 4 team and show them what a great site the West Midlands would be for a new headquarters.

“We believe we are the perfect choice, with our central position, first class transport links and strong cultural scene, and we put across a very strong case for why they should join us and be part of our exciting future.

“Coventry won the title of UK City of Culture 2021 by working with partners and other organisations to show the potential of our young, skilled and diverse population and how our city is growing and changing for the future.

“Those same strengths make us the perfect choice for Channel 4 and I believe that we put across a very strong argument and showed them how relocating to the region would not just help the West Midlands, but help Channel 4 and create something special for both of us.”

The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “The prize of Channel 4’s National HQ is a huge one for the region. Today we brought together everybody who has been working with us from the political and industry to really press the case to the leadership team at Channel 4.

“Because our region has put the hard work into this over the last few years and because everybody has got right behind this bid, we have honed our case, gathered support and have every right to feel confident.”

The WMCA bid highlights the many strengths of the West Midlands under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’, including: the region’s unparalleled connectedness to talent, ideas and resources, its youth and diversity, and the ongoing success and development the region is experiencing such as Coventry named UK City of Culture 2021, and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

C4 is seeking to establish three new creative hubs outside London, as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy. The largest of these hubs will become the national headquarters, consisting of offices, a new studio, a base for daily programmes and a new digital production unit. The final announcement will be in October, with the broadcaster moving to the new HQ in 2019.

Birmingham’s tourism sector sees most successful year on record

The figures released today by the West Midlands Growth Company* and research body Global Tourism Solutions (GTS), reveal Birmingham welcomed 41.8 million visitors in 2017, with subsequent visitor spend reaching £7.1 billion – an increase of over nine percent in the space of a year. Average hotel occupancy stood at 75%, matching the previous record set in 2016, whilst RevPAR (revenue per available room) was £51 in value, the highest figure ever recorded.

The city welcomed the most tourists during September, a month that included major events such as the Natwest T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston Stadium and Birmingham’s largest outdoor festival, the Birmingham Weekender. The region’s literary heritage was celebrated as 2017 marked the 80th anniversary of JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel The Hobbit. Heritage was also the sub-sector to see the greatest increase in visitor numbers, up 12% on 2016.

The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by the visitor economy has risen by 7.2% since 2016, from 70,635 to 75,748.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, commented:

“Tourism is a major part of the Birmingham economy, supporting thousands of jobs, and these outstanding figures underline the fact that this city is now a major tourist destination, with a growing profile on the global stage.

“Increasing numbers of visitors come to Birmingham every year and many return time and time again, thanks to our arts and culture, our fantastic food, our sporting offer and because they know they are guaranteed a warm welcome.”

The announcement of the latest figures coincides with a visit to the region from Michael Ellis, Minister for arts, heritage and tourism. The visit marks the arrival of a prominent new tourism project to the area – England’s Waterways, supported by the Discover England Fund. The project, led by the West Midlands Growth Company, will inspire international visitors to explore the canal networks and surrounding cultural offer throughout Birmingham and the wider Midlands region.

Tourism Minister Michael Ellis, commented:

“Birmingham is one the UK’s leading destinations, with excellent attractions, nightlife and hospitality. Following the hugely successful Commonwealth Games handover and the arrival of Dippy the Diplodocus, this positive tourism trend looks set to continue well into the future.

“The wider Midlands region boasts a charming canal network surrounded by vibrant green spaces and unique heritage attractions. We are pleased to be helping to attract even more people to experience these picturesque waterways through our Discover England Fund”.

Over the last 10 years, Birmingham has attracted growing numbers of overnight visitors. The total number of staying visitors has increased by a third (1.2 million) since 2008. The top destinations visitors are travelling from include Ireland, Germany and the US.

Neil Snowball, Chief Executive of Warwickshire CCC, commented:

“The biggest sporting and cultural events come to Birmingham because of the outstanding experience that is provided by the city stakeholders working together in partnership. The warm welcome and logistical ease is something that is reported time and again by visitors to Edgbaston.

“Last year, the stadium hosted five games in the ICC Champions Trophy, England’s first ever Day/Night Investec Test match and NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day, which was predicted to have generated around £45 million towards the local economy. We’re thrilled that Edgbaston could play such a major role in Birmingham’s leisure offering last year.

“With test matches against India, Australia and the ICC Cricket World Cup on the horizon, we can look forward to continued momentum in the city’s tourism offering”.

Mark Payne, General Manager at Park Regis Birmingham, added: 

“These record-breaking figures highlight the growing potential of the UK’s second city. Birmingham is home to a thriving food and hospitality offering, with a globally renowned arts and culture scene, underpinned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Birmingham Hippodrome. The recent handover for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has made it very real and clear that Birmingham is the city to watch.

Due to the increasing number of visitors to the city, The Park Regis Birmingham has been going from strength to strength since opening. We have recently broken ground on our new sky-high conferencing suite on Level 16 to accommodate the growing professional community in the city. Birmingham is fast becoming the first choice for delegates – and we can’t wait to welcome them.”