Digital community backs #4sparks campaign

Leading digital academics and businesses have thrown their support behind the #4sparks campaign to bring Channel 4 to Leeds City Region, highlighting the digital expertise the broadcaster could benefit from.

David Eccles (pictured), founding partner of Leeds-based Numiko, Channel 4 digital partner for many high profile projects such as The Undateables, Stand Up to Cancer, Fresh Meat, Bear Grylls� The Island and the Paralympics, commented:

�With the unstoppable rise of on-demand, internet based content providers such as Netflix and Amazon vying for viewers� attention, Channel 4 needs to be able to plug into a local ecosystem of digital talent which will guarantee their success for the next 35 years. I strongly believe that Leeds can provide this which is why I�m backing #4sparks.�

Dr Phil Waywell, Research and Innovation Development Manager at the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics said:

�Data is our speciality, our talent is finding innovative ways to use it.�

Professor Peter Cowling, Director of Digital Creativity Labs and IGGI at the University of York added:

""Yorkshire is a powerhouse for digital creativity research. At the University of York we have over 50 world class research staff and tens of millions in research funding - working with over 100 partners from the local and national digital creative industries. To have Channel 4 in Yorkshire would be fabulous - to do research together on a vision for the (interactive) future of broadcasting.""

This focus on digital strengths forms the next phase of the #4sparks campaign, building on activity in October and November which saw Leeds City Region social media messages reached by over 1 million people.

All the Local Authorities, cities, towns and industry players of Leeds City Region have come together, in an unprecedented show of solidarity and determination to support this campaign.

Following a consultation earlier in the year, the government produced a 56-page report that examined a range of options for a Channel 4 relocation � including a full or partial move from London � as well as the impact of making the broadcaster increase its spend on programmes made by TV producers outside the capital. It is expected a decision regarding the relocation will be made in early 2018.

The Leeds City Region digital economy contributes �6.5bn to the local economy, employs 102,000 people, and is home to Leeds Data Mill, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, the Open Data Institute and Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ). The region�s nine universities produce 17,800 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) graduates annually.