Channel 4 launches its Black, Asian & minority ethnic-led Indie accelerator

Channel 4 has launched its BAME-led Indie Accelerator – an innovative new approach to working with more production companies where the main shareholders, the leading decision makers or the creative leaders comprise those from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

In a two-year partnership with The TV Collective – an organisation founded by Simone Pennant MBE, which aims to connect BAME workers to paid opportunities in the media industry – Channel 4 will run this initiative twice over the next two years as part of a long-term strategic plan to support more BAME-led production companies.

In the first round, the initiative will identify ten BAME-led production companies, from a range of different backgrounds, to work closely with Channel 4 Commissioning Heads of Department for unscripted genres. By working with these shortlisted companies, the broadcaster’s aim is to progress them towards winning more commissions for the channel.

Channel 4 recently announced a new commitment to double the number of BAME-led independent producers that it commissions from by 2023.To achieve this, the broadcaster will continue to work with indies already in development but expand its supply chain to find additional indies to work with through its new partnership with The TV Collective.

Indies selected from the BAME-led Indie Accelerator will benefit from: 

  • Financial support: There will be development money put aside to help work on ideas plus additional funds from the channel’s Creative Diversity budget.
  • Idea development: Production companies will benefit from idea development consultancy, commercial strategies mentoring, and support of their slate provided by a Channel 4 Commissioning Head of Department – alongside a bespoke plan to accelerate ideas and convert them to commissions across the channel’s portfolio.
  • Access and support: Indies will gain an enhanced understanding of Channel 4 through unprecedented access and support from the channel’s senior leadership and key departments on how to develop ideas that have the greatest chance of success.
  • Expanded contacts: Lasting relationships will be formed as they are networked across the channel and armed with insights to support future growth and success.  This will include regular face to face meetings, financial support as required and tailored advice and mentoring.
  • Access to creative talent network: To assist with advice on recruitment and access to talent pools.
  • Involvement of Director of Programmes: Ideas will be prioritised for review by Ian Katz, Director of Programmes

Producers interested in the accelerator will have opportunities to join briefing sessions on 16th July, introduced by Kelly Webb-Lamb, Deputy Director of Programmes at Channel 4. The briefings are an opportunity to hear directly from the Heads of Departments for unscripted genres about what they are looking for.

Babita Bahal, Head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4 said: “This two-year partnership with The TV Collective is an important long-term commitment. This is not a one-off initiative, it is about establishing business relationships with new production partners.  We want to work with producers who bring bold ideas with mainstream appeal, and greater breadth of voices and stories to the channel.  We know that by supporting Black, Asian and minority ethnic producers we effectively support more underrepresented talent across the industry. And we want that support to be ongoing for more companies, over a sustained period to drive meaningful change.  We want to do more and move quickly to find producers that will really benefit from the bespoke access and development on offer.”

Simone Pennant, CEO and Founder of The TV Collective said: “This project shows Channel 4’s commitment to further diversifying its supply chain and the range of stories we see onscreen. I am very excited to partner with Channel 4 on this two-year project. It offers an important business opportunity for existing Black, Asian and Minority companies to better understand the DNA of Channel 4, win commissions and grow their businesses. It is also a breakthrough opportunity to introduce the channel to an array of exciting BAME companies who have not worked with C4 before.”

In 2019 the broadcaster commissioned eight BAME-led independent production companies, with a further 12 in paid development. Channel 4 aims to double the number of companies it commissions from by 2023.

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