Big day for me tomorrow: I’m starting a new full-time position at Channel 4. After a year of working for myself, I’m stepping back into an office.
And what a way to step back. For me, Channel 4 is still the epitome of exciting homegrown media. In its first 25 years, it’s established a distinctive, forthright position in British life and it continues to produce stuff which is intelligent and creative – things like Skins and the Disarming Britain season, things which (it seems to me) no other British broadcaster, including the Big British Castle, would know how to do.
I’m going in to help Jon Gisby (my ex-boss at Yahoo!) and his New Media team plan for the future, in the context of Channel 4’s Next On 4 programme. I think Channel 4’s got some unique opportunities because, since its inception, it’s been a different type of broadcaster. As a “publisher-broadcaster” it does not produce any of its own content; it commissions it from independent producers. To apply web terms to broadcasting, it’s a platform for other people’s content: it takes programming from outside, and applies some vertical platform elements to it: scheduling, marketing, advertising and transmission. It’s like Blogger for telly.
And that is where the opportunity lies online, I think: transferring that openness and accessibility to digital platforms. Some amazing things are already happening: Loosemore going into 4IP (itself an interestingly appropriate project for C4), Matt Locke’s wonderful standalone projects in Education, the Disarming Britain blogs, and much more. I’m excited to be going into an organisation with so many brilliant people, and so much exciting creative capital. And it all starts tomorrow. Woo-hoo!