How Channel 4 will commit to its Yorkshire plans after coronavirus pandemic

The Yorkshire Post has this weekend reported on the way coronavirus has impacted the screen industry - and a major aspect of that sector is Channel 4 in Leeds.

It last month outlined a number of measures it would be taking to ensure that it can "successfully navigate" the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Though publicly-owned and run as a non-profit organisation which invests its available income into commissioning content, Channel 4 is entirely commercially funded, the vast majority of which is from television and digital advertising.

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Announced in 2019, the broadcaster was set to move into the former nightclub by City Square later this year while operations are currently handled at West Gate.

Alex Mahon

Join our new coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it channel's content budget for this year is expected to drop by £150m, meaning shows will be delayed or cancelled.

It is not yet clear how this will affect shows made in Yorkshire, though millions of pounds have been ringfenced for content produced in the 'nations and regions' outside London.

Channel 4 said the "unprecedented impact" of this crisis on the worldwide and UK economy has had a severe effect on the demand for advertising in the UK – with the TV advertising market set to be down in excess of 50 per cent over April and May, and "limited future visibility".

As a consequence, all of its executive and non-executive board members have taken an immediate voluntary 20 per cent pay cut and directors will not receive any bonus pay in 2020.

"This reflects both the difficulties of producing programmes and films in the current environment, as well as some extremely difficult decisions to delay or cancel some content across Channel 4, E4 and More 4 across the year," said the channel.

However it will aim to support the creative sector by continuing to commission and develop content for 2020 and 2021 with ringfenced funding for smaller, Black and Minorty Ethnic-led (BAME) and nations and regions independent producers.