Channel 4 axes £20m digital investment arm

Channel 4 axes £20m digital investment arm

By Rob Crossley

October 7th 2010 at 11:00AM

Widespread restructure sees digital divisions merge

Channel 4’s new chief executive David Abraham is to scrap 4IP, the broadcaster’s ₤20 million digital investment arm.

Connected divisions within Channel 4 are also to merge as part of a wide-ranging restructure operation. Redundancies are possible though, at this stage, have not been implemented.

The move could leave an investment gap for Channel 4’s game commissioning education unit, which – spearheaded by Alice Taylor – funds UK indie studios to build games of educational value.

The full impact of 4IP’s closure on Taylor’s education group is unclear. Channel 4’s restructure includes the game-commissioning education team. Develop is in contact with the group for comment.

Channel 4’s education wing has invested in projects developed at aspiring UK studios such as Litttleloud and Wonderland Studios, and has commissioned titles such as Bow Street Runner, The Curfew, Privates and Smokescreen.

Channel 4 said it will continue to honour all of its business partnerships already set in place by 4IP, according to a Telegraph report.

It has roughly six million remaining from its investment pot, and has pledged to use the money for “digital format innovation”.

In August Channel 4 was said to have commissioned a number of new games based on some of its most popular TV IP. The channel said it was going to spend £1 million on the initiative.

Dundee developers Tag Games and Dynamo have been signed up for the work, with the former making apps based on comedy Peep Show and reality series Come Dine With Me and the latter working on apps for How To Look Good Naked and Beauty Town.

The broadcaster's digital divisions are said will merge into one larger digital unit, called Channel 4 Online.

Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, said the new Online division “will simplify the digital side of Channel 4.”

“One of the main criticisms of the previous regime was that the broadcaster’s digital innovation commissioning activities and investment, was very scattered across five departments and four different floors, and was incoherent,” he said.