Channel 4 - The Alpha Fund and Regional Targets for Digital

A few pretty important announcements this week, delivered by C4's CEO David Abraham in his keynote speech at Salford. Thought I shouldn't really leave them hidden in the Channel 4 group and bring it front page! (for a while anyway)


Here is what you need to know;


The Alpha Fund is designed to support ideas, talent and emergent companies, and to enrich Channel 4's reputation for creativity. It is a unique fund supporting our diversity of supply by providing outstanding talent with a route of entry into an increasingly competitive commercial media environment.

The Alpha Fund can support new start-ups, regionally-based companies, projects with diverse talent attached and grassroots innovation. It is designed to kick-start original ideas that can grow in scale and ambition.

The Alpha Fund has been structured to offer ease of access and an uncomplicated process with dedicated editorial support.

For initial enquiries, contact your Creative Diversity Media Project Manager, and if you don't know who that is, it's time to find out.

No Launch Party. No Drinks. No Fanfare. Every penny goes on Creative Content.


Press Release below.

Abraham announces new Alpha Fund as Channel 4 commits to regional digital targets


David Abraham, Channel 4’s Chief Executive, this week announced the launch of The Alpha Fund, an annual fund designed to identify and support creative talent at its earliest stage.  In its first year the fund will launch at £2 million.


Speaking at today’s Nations & Regions Media Conference in Salford Abraham said: “We need to look to support great creative individuals, fund the work of smaller companies and reach those parts of the creative culture that other broadcasters cannot or dare not visit.  So I am today announcing The Alpha Fund, a new grassroots innovation and authorship fund which is intended to fund the very first stages of creative ideas.”


The Alpha Fund will be managed by Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4’s Director of Creative Diversity and a team of Media Project Managers who will have deep roots in creative communities across the UK. They have been tasked with being closer to grassroots creative communities, often in advance of commissioning editors, to talent spot, to shape smart ideas and to develop them for the wider creative diversity of the company.


Abraham added: “One of the great truths of early talent development is that a little money goes a long way.  So among the first batch of Alpha commissions is the first moving image film by multi award-winning photo-journalist David Gillanders from Glasgow, who’s spent three years underground with homeless Ukrainian teenagers. In addition we are funding a unique film project with one of Black Britain’s most exciting writer-performers Debbie Tucker Greene, and three new projects from Belfast where talent often feels marginalised.” 


The Alpha Fund will sit alongside Channel 4’s Convergent Formats Fund, also worth £2 million in 2011.  Abraham said: “The Convergent Formats Fund will invest in ideas, apps and creative concepts for the next generation of connected TV like YouView.  It will pioneer new ideas for a new generation of broadcast television and the objective is to become the partner of choice for the most imaginative digital media companies in the UK.”  


Abraham also announced a further push to improve Channel 4’s regional creative development and commisioning by announcing its first ever commitment to regional targets for digital media in the UK.


Abraham explained: “Channel 4 is passionate about stimulating next generation creativity and together with the two new funds we have announced, we aim to match or exceed our regional targets online, on digital interactive platforms.  So in the next two years we will endeavour to ensure that at least 35% of our annual-spend in digital media commissioning, will be from new and emergent companies from outside London. This equates to over £4m of new spend.  It’s a self-imposed target but one we believe to be in the spirit of our role as a catalyst for creativity and is further evidence of Channel 4 Online’s ongoing integration into a single cross platform content division.”

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Comment by Richard Saville-Smith on January 22, 2011 at 21:53
It would be kind if you could draw some lines of clarification between these new announcements and the original 4IP fund; in particular the balance between digital film (whether for TV or Web) and everything else for Web??  


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