Lucinda Hicks advising Channel 4 on in-house productions

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Unique: The former UK head of one of Europe’s biggest production giants has been appointed by Channel 4 to advise on the formation of its in-house production unit.

Lucinda Hicks, who left her Banijay UK CEO position two years ago, will consult with Channel 4 two days per week over the coming months to help the network strategy by looking for “diverse revenue streams”, including: House productions and include. Part of its fast forward blueprint. CEO Alex Mahon is understood to be keen to draw up a detailed plan by the end of the year, which will depend on the success of the media bill currently going through Parliament.

Reporting to chief operating officer Jonathan Allen, Hicks is working closely with Mahon and content boss Ian Katz on the plans.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said Hicks was investigating how the broadcaster could “explore the potential for intellectual property ownership and any gradual, deliberate steps we may take.” She will also “focus on growing diverse revenue streams to support our long-term sustainability and grow our impact with audiences, including building out e-commerce, growing Channel 4+ and expanding our social footprint.”

Lucinda Hicks

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Hicks is a respected UK production vet who was CEO of Banijay UK for two years, taking over the position after the French-headquartered powerhouse acquired Endemol Shine Group for $2.2B, leaving him overseeing other companies. Used to do. Big Brother, Peaky Blinders And master Chef Helping businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also held commercial roles with Fremantle and the BBC.

Hicks’s consultancy will likely prove a topic of discussion in UK production industry circles, who will be keeping a close eye on what Channel 4 does with its new in-house powers. Production companies are keen for Channel 4 to get some degree of commissioning back to normal after a difficult year in which greenlights were somewhat stalled and it felt that some of the financial pain had been passed on to indies.

Gogglebox The network is hoping the media bill will clear parliamentary hurdles in the coming months and could be followed by a concrete in-house plan drawn up with Hicks’ help in 2024, we’re told.

Launching an in-house production unit that would allow pubcasters to own their own shows for the first time in their 40-year history was the brainchild of former UK culture secretary Michelle Donnellan when Channel 4 was privatized almost 15 months ago. was overturned.

However, this move has proven controversial as their holding on to Channel 4’s rights and selling these shows around the world has been the basis for many smaller British production houses. Channel 4 has repeatedly stressed that it was the government that came up with the plan in-house, and that it would only be introduced with additional quota commitments for ‘true indies’ and in consultation with the production sector. Regulator Ofcom will also be handed new statutory powers to review how Channel 4 is using content in-house to ensure it does not harm the sector.

“Whereas [in-house] “Our fundamental belief in the importance of independent producers in the UK will never change, subject to the Media Bill passing through Parliament it is important that we review this opportunity appropriately,” the spokesperson said. “To support the broader diversification work, Lucinda Hicks has joined us on a consulting basis.”

Hicks is consulting as Channel 4 implements its biggest round of redundancies in 15 years, with 240 staff walking out. The 45-day consultation period, which was extended to 60 in February, ended last week and the newly commissioned head of the department has been determined. The likes of drama boss Caroline Hollick, fact-ant head Alf Laurie and youth controller Carl Warner are leaving, with Ollie Madden, Alisa Pomeroy and Steven Handley having been promoted. Amid the redundancies, Deadline revealed last month that Mahon and Katz will accept bonuses this year, while senior leader pay, which reached a record high in 2023, will be reduced by 30% to 40%.

The Mahon-led fast forward blueprint also includes plans to sell Channel 4’s London Horseferry Road premises and focus on digital growth, transformation and “reengineering the business for a digital-first world”.

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