Channel 4 shakes up exec structure

Network breaks down wall between TV, online

LONDON — Channel 4, the U.K. hybrid pubcaster, has announced a radical new structure for its creative team.

The move, which jettisons separate channel heads for the main web and digital spin-offs such as E4 and FilmFour, is designed to end the separation between creating content for television and that for online.

CEO David Abraham, who joined the channel in May, said: “Channel 4 has always been brilliant at enabling big creative ideas; with the emergence of initiatives such as Canvas we have to ensure these ideas are, from the outset, reaching their fullest expression across all platforms.”

He added that he wanted the broadcaster to deliver more fare like live gameshow “The Million Pound Drop” “with multiplatform features at the heart of the offer for our audiences.”

“Million Pound Drop,” stripped nightly and made by Endemol, had a high take-up online as viewers played along with the contestants via computers and mobile devices.

It made a splash on Twitter and in the U.S. Fox is prepping a version of the show.

As part of the management changes the second most important exec in Channel 4’s creative team looks be head of channel management Rosemary Newell.

All the newly appointed channel managers — Channel 4 (Jules Oldroyd), E4 and More4 (Paul Mortimer) and Film4 (Julia Wrigley) — will report to Newell, as will the head of acquisitions.

Newell answers to the chief creative officer, a new post combining the old jobs of head of Channel 4 and director of television and content.

This job is currently being done by former Channel 4 head, Julian Bellamy. It remains to be seen if he lands the gig full-time.

Abraham also confirmed Tuesday that an extra £50 million ($78 million) would be plowed into content investment for the rest of the year.

Channel 4, in common with rival private broadcaster ITV, has benefited from a significant upturn in the U.K. TV advertising market.

This is in sharp contrast to a year ago when its then CEO, Andy Duncan, was pleading poverty and seeking public money and or a merger with BBC Worldwide.

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