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Read this: Why Channel 4 is on the move

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Why Channel 4 is on the move…



BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 to absolute Media monsters in the studio today Alex Mahon is CEO of Channel 4 and Keith weed is the chief marketing officer of Unilever which is the world's second biggest Advertiser Marmite Hellman's domestos far too many to mention our brands under his control now.

I had a bit of fun early this week asking the culture secretary at a conference about his daily Media diet that.

I'm not sure he enjoyed the headlines are followed after he said he didn't read the newspaper everyday only failing then asked you to similar questions that Alex what newspapers if any do you read each morning that channel for the summer is going to go really wrong that slips over sent to you in the morning when I get up but when I do I read it and then I read The Times and the Guardian and ft of there something.

The covers off soon if I need to the gossip have a look at the Daily Mail research three wishes, please speak communications internal external communications, so what's mean say about you and you was quite important around the world and across the world goes 24/7.

So I'm well.

I'm sleeping things are happening around the world so the first thing I do is exactly that is a look at the Year the clips and what she said and I meet you sleep in to Twitter I'm a bit of a Twitter follower and then I do look across the the newspapers we have all the newspapers in the office and I'll Africa bottom and you have a radio station on in the morning.

I don't actually want you in the morning.

Generally when I'm at work or when I wake up when you wake up and when I wake up and I'm not sings come here.

It is the programme plan for in the shower and much they know it's on my wife because she can hear it and she's probably not quite often same time as me but that I start with Her Today programme pound for every single Radio 4 ready for yeah exactly.

Alexa that you just listen to the radio in the morning lyrics to all the people that matter all the putative.

This is not going well and what about your key? I watch the BBC news.

That is the right answer as you really Alex that you leaving must do a bit of business which animals.

Have you actually met before not with Josh Mair coming in now, but obviously been doing business together as organisations for a while.

Can I suggest that you never ever invite Keith round today because he has his absolutely shocking have it whenever you turned up at other people's houses.

Would you care to confess curiosity is 1 most important things selling marketing and business generally need be curious about what's going on in the world was going on in people's lives so one of them that I do as when I go to someone's house is after a short Pier

The time is the Oscar bottom so I took off the bottom lock the door opener cupboards and have a look what people have bought an Alexa using such as I can't do any longer mawddach Crescent here, but it's been passed around this story, so that's what it's probably not but what you see is of course.

It is what people have in the front of the cupboards and also what they have hidden in the back of the cupboards and for Mark II like you leave it outside in Southall but you clearly don't want to do is come out holding something in Your Hand saying why did you write? That's a bit not to do so you upgrade your house if they've bought a shampoo that you've not in Bielefeld in AI Dota long.

I did it once and I realise this is a really bad about the invitation from Alex know that im didn't exist it with your point of Channel 4 boss in October last year.

What was your picture of the job? Well, I got appointed in June and then came and joined at the end of October and my pictures are more of what we've come to love from town for some more of that combination of the remit.

The programs that speak to diverse audiences to difference to innovation to that kind of pure distilled form of creativity are whilst at same time make each other popular enough to be commercial and then how do you do that in the landscape? Where were really really digitally challenged and they worked out for us.

It's really easy to love it a lot of people in the crater in the industry is love that because its unique right know why though broadcaster in the world is so focused on the young audience and it's so focus on this peculiar mix of delivering this purpose for remit was the same time making it so money and being independent and that combination is a jewellery for creative people.

It's just talk about that man Channel 4 was born in 1982.

There was no satellite television there is no internet no smartphones.

Does a handful of channels and that world is used as be replaced by at one of them is infinite choice.

What exactly is the point of Channel 4 in 2018? What can it do that no one else can?

Well it Sue? Cos when channel was born there was no YouTube they weren't the satellite channels.

There weren't loads of things that exist now but particularly you know it's easier to put risky things up in the world now than it was in the 1980s and 98 is you could talk put a pot plant on our and that felt whiskey and that's not the environment.

We are in now.

So you have to keep innovating that you have to keep changing that you have to keep working out.

What that differences and I would argue that now we have to distil those flavour is much more clearly and probably can do less of the stuff in the middle, but I would also argue that a time of social dissonance and social media Echo Chambers and fake news that the value of a public service broadcaster.

That has investigative journalism that speaks to young people is more important than ever was attention at the heart of Channel 4 shoes that you were there partly to do the alternative and risky programming that you talk about but you also do need be.

Is its commercial operations safe bets that will pay the bills and hence Bake-Off great canal journeys and Penelope Keith villages which is not particularly skilled people like it that tension that you talk about is exactly the brilliance and the Conundrum and the complexity of Channel 4 right.

How do you do things that are different and do things that matter but do things that are popular enough to fill the commercial side of the business, but that's the joy of running it because you don't want to do things that I just received it.

No one's interested in because they don't have any impact but that tension is completely at the heart of all the decisions.

We make all day long and it's not easy to pull off that when we do it has tremendous positive impact that should be similar to what does nodding along not liking turn on radio.

There's nothing wrong because it means very much for that the angle you're talking about that mixture of I once I've been a little bit.

Challenging and thoughtful and other side you truly entertaining and I think if anything is just one thing it becomes a bit dull and and her own life life is a fruit salad.

You've got to have different things and bring different interests so I think of Channel 4 just played 1 tune all the time would stop listening to it.

So I think that mixture is is and giving the balance right as you said is it is the the key thing to do and as you right now will sing a real tree surgeons right now in interesting content on TV generally Channel 4 be a good example.

That's a great thing for this the end of the people want to be entertained and if we can be entertaining out of a Focus weigh on Broadway in a documentary where in a human league.

These are the things I need a broadcast to reflect the public which is why it was interesting the channel for 1 hours last week.

You'll be having a new national headquarters at in Leeds the governor quartered made a commitment to moving Channel 4 out of London how many days a week will you be working in Leeds

Latest very exciting decision Frost army those we will be away like at the proportion of time I start so I reckon that'll be 1 or 2 days a week.

I'm going to have the same set up there they have in London and I expect to be on the road or on the rail system or there a day or two weeks, but that's no secret.

I've been really clear about that and this complete commitment to doing it and of course.

It is one of the holy channel for this fantastic and terms of their gross really vibrant place massive growth in digital massively underserved actually in terms of broadcasting and gives us reach across the North in the Northeast in the northwest will be moving all the Channel 4 there yet though.

I think what were trying to pull off with moving a few hundred people is a massive change to the organisation that goes well.

Let's see I know there's a review going on now.

Shall see the right proper thing cos you gotta make sure staff consultant at a time this probably can cause quite a bit of anxiety but can you

Finish the guarantee that commissioners will move out there with a really clear that will have created decision makers there and commissioners there because the big thing for us and as the 3 point plan right first point is that we're spending an extra quarter of a billion eat outside of London between now and 2023 that voluntary to do that.

We need to change the way we make decisions.

We need to change the way we commissioner.

We need to change the places we Commission from and that money is to be spread all across the UK second thing is moving the people national HQ in Leeds and creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow and the third thing is co-locating the news with us in the news being presented multiple night sweet from outside of London that's totally new on national news, so those are the changes to achieve that and to achieve a difference in representation of people from across the UK on air and in how we make decisions you have to make creative decision makers otherwise you won't get a change to that and we want to end up with shows on air that represent values and communities and Accidents and contributors from elsewhere in the UK not just London

When I asked you, what channel Falls for you mention young people let's look at your strategy to get young people all people watching Channel 4 particularly young people and young people as you know as you've spoke about a lot watching Channel 4 or indeed any terrestre broadcaster in the volume.

They used to it.

There's more choice for the now so you can mission programs like the circle to entice them back factory your biggest audience from the 16 to 34 year old demographic for many years.

Have you commission the second series many radical reality show was watch the new reality talking about your predecessors listeners definitely know what the show is the windows.

Are you going to commission a working out when and how we might do that but very good that you mention the young audience and 86% off on the slot average for Young's and 49% of the audience were young and that's the biggest terrestrial show for young shares.

I've been on terrestrial television this year so Big Show for us, but it does highlight the question of life linear performance vs.

Digital because young people are watching shows more digital more on demand and that presents questions for I will go to weather in detail not least we keep a bit is it possible that show that the circle can be both a success and fail at the same time as success in that it generated a decent audience a good audience among the young demographic and social media buzz backpack seifalian to is how it performs overall within that slot there any shell that is innovation.

That is knew that is truly creative needs work as you go on right when you're launching really risky innovative things you do that work as you go through season 2 season right first season you're always working on sure I think it was an amazing show in terms of doing that and I've never seen her show with such positive Buzz from people who watched your separate lobbying the government to introduce rules that would give Channel 4 special prominence in the or greater prominence in the age of Netflix could you explain a layman's terms? What what that is it your campaigning for?

Yeah, so we're having a joint pushing discussion with our fellow public service broadcasters with BBC of course.

I do the joint speech to Parliament with your very own Tony Hall and with ITV as well.

I'm particularly focused on prominent.

So what is prominent I'm in the olden days prominence was what your slot was in the electronic programming guide EPG in the like 2003 communications act now.

I would argue that that PSB compact doesn't really make sense in a digital world right so we go into the UI on an iPad that's not how we say it's your television programmes you plug in the streaming stick and Amazon fire stick into your television.

That's not how you get to the television programme the same on a smart TV and the same when you use voice search, so this is a question about how do we update that PSP compact for those messages and what does it mean in that environment if we as an industry, not a charger for specific point wish to prioritise Public Service Broadcasting which is one of the

Greatest things about the media in the UK I argue that in order to do that properly in today's environment.

We need to think about prominence in the different digital ways in which people access content ways alluded to a company that we took white dots on the show she's at Netflix and which has changed landscape Keith the popularity of Netflix a worry for Unilever in the Netflix is streaming lead service and you leave I can't get adverts in front of all those eyeballs.

So is that not only a worry but a moment where you might switch to a different strategy which me something closer to a product placement what we actually do do a product placement already in and have done for 4 years and Netflix is is showing that people really like great content and as far as we're concerned here.

We want to engage with people wear their spending time and they will spend their time where there is great, Ponton at Netflix you write.

It is is growing but it's still very small compared to the the breadth of of the advertising and landscape 120ml.

Subscribe it is a big big company worth of 860 billion dollars and it created a habit has in it a monk's over 100m where they get great stuff and they pay for it as a stream saves.

I don't have had absolutely are but the the The Global cmo the if you look at the the scale of advertising globally we talking about immortal billion business, but this is an important trying to anyway.

You say that it is not important and the way people actually consuming content it has changed and I think you're actually like there will be at still a role for advertising at the end of day advertising funds entertainment funds news it was by the way you fund your Google search for your Google Maps your Facebook post your YouTube video Watch ill never and I think funny what we're seeing is in your advertising here to save having said that there is other models that are coming out as well, and I think what we certainly seeing is there is a need for brands to on one side.

Yes, look at advertising but another side look at how they

Engage people in different ways and we look at that will be called content in two different ways in which it is issued of utility needs based content so with that be recipes or cleaning advice right now you mention about voice.

I'm voice Vincent's with Amazon Alexa it would have a big thing right now as you can ask Alexa to give you a recipe and what she brought to you by our brands.

Are you talking to the recipe think about that it easier than looking at a recipe for cleaning if you just spilt something so look one-sided looking at this rebuilding utility.com then but the other side is entertainment content and that's what you talk about product placement.

So that's been there it still be there and I don't think that's going to be the answer.

I think what the answer is it's to find truly entertaining ways to engage people around brands at the bandstand at your latest of Unilever accounts and every year you spend 88 billion dollars on marketing.

That's equivalent of nearly a million.

Dollars every hour of the day within that why is TV still very much your biggest expenditure what goes around the world the vast majority of people watch television so this really reflect unilever's global spend all markets like the UK I like North America like China where there is a large amount of digital at really what we do is we follow where people spend their time so people are saying more more time and did she also you'll see a digital investment growing people spend more time with in that on mobile and what mobiles done has really changed the way people consume Media added 3 hours immediate.

I made a 2 people in the US for example unassimilable little less in the UK course all that means is your now looking at and being entertained on your mobile while you're at the train station are well.

You'll sort of getting to work but of course also bit at work and you couldn't come to work and put the television on your desk and sit back and watch but you can have a sneaky look at the left of the way.

Tune YouTube or Facebook so I need a time does increased and what we need to do is engage with people where they spend their time.

So what you'll see if if you look at the strategy of where we invest is where people spend their time and where they spent time is where I'll be a let's think about how you're trying to appeal to the beach one of your brand is lynx deodorant who could forget the lynx effect can pay the 1990s and 2000s spray more get more was one of the slogan of glad you're laughing Alex an extraordinarily successful campaign also sexist would you run that campaign today? I know when we've changed position fat border.

Why won't you read it to me? What cause I think when we look at the advertising about everwise back.

Just a couple of years.

We did a big steering not to the Unilever advertising buttercross the advertising industry and when you try to understand.

What was advertising communicating at a societal level and unsurprisingly we found that a lot of people don't identify with themselves in the artefact 40% of women said they didn't identify.

Themselves in in ads Canada ads I meant to be engaging with people and talking to them that seems to be like at qualifying cystic this was all had to his dad and he went down a little bit louder in only 3% of odds were women represented obvious leadership positions at 2% that they are obviously intelligent and 1% of the ads with a sense of humour that doesn't reflect any woman.

I know so they thought about advertising playing out as for the stereotype version of gender and I talked about women but it's also true for men men locked and garages not knowing how to you do a washing machine These Arms people today.

He's a stereotypes.

How do I even looked a little bit in this the 80s and 70s and so what we've been doing across all our brands and he's actually working towards as a more progressive than more reflected a and social causes, but don't a lot of people frankly find brands championing social causes a bit of noxious went out of the motivation is to

Peter Sellers Taf it's a bit like the famous can pay with diamond and real women this is about soap right Colin Kaepernick the Australia the American football player who's been taken on by Nike Colin Kaepernick is extraordinary something to say iconic figure getting in the fight for racial Justice and equality, but it's about selling trainers isn't it something a bit of sad that wrapping up a commercial message in his great moral project when actually it's about the bottom line.

What does does an an example cos you mentioned above is very much.

Look at the the beauty industry and try and unpack the beauty industry was real beauty and what he does want to do after why do you love the dove campaign because it felt like it was really different all other beauty campaigns out there and at the time it felt like it was the first campaign that really genuinely featured real.

What is about Sobell too many was it about why would one third moisturising cream in the soap? What is about engaging people with thinking about?

Ellesmere self-esteem in in in different ways and absolutely there is a role for our products and caring for your skin and and your body but it's not just what they say sauce.

What does does dove is the biggest educator of self-esteem are in the world? We have a partnership with the girl Guides we teach our young girls to decode the beauty and see I've been on somebody says it's fantastic.

They still hold of a magazine cover in say getting that position than all girls trying get the position and they can't sit yeah absolutely cuz they cut her hand off and moved it over there to frame the picture differently ok to sell vehicles.

I guess it.

So he's gonna be so I genuinely committed to the social causes.

I think I think you are actually right to challenge if people are using social causes of badgers.

You leave our purchase is very much saying that are brown should be purposeful.

You can't have Healthy Business in an unhealthy Society and we should be passed the side working with multi stakeholders to build a business, but billib is a positive way and with the poster.

I'm interest in you mention that because companies like yours are increasing.

Using influencers to be with large numbers of followers on social media were paid to talk about a product.

How big a part of that having a part of your strategy in the future, is that a social influences like that going to be like in engaging with people with what they're interested creators influences as a big huge growth market is now bigger than a billion and early this year.

I actually managing this very industry because it's growing very quickly and for the unintended consequences and what are the unintended consequences is implants was created as we've been paid for by the amount of followers then just go on Google and Google right now you can buy followers and we're finally people buying followers and the market was coming very murky, so I came out at industry level and made the commitment that we wouldn't work with influencers who who bought a followers had fake followers is the misleading thing the weird make sure that we hold ourselves that same standards and the word prioritise the platforms who worked with us to.

To clean up this market and the good news if you look to do it a midget year 4 Twitter Twitter pull-down a whole load of fake accounts in the pitfalls me to get to the way your Facebook Instagram YouTube their water taking action in Syria but it needs to be clean.

I think you're pointing a good point because you can be misled if the market isn't sorted out and you'll be very outspoken about those two copies, which might come onto let's talk about where your interests really alive Alex can you see a future where advertisers like he don't just sponsor a Show on Channel 4 like the Sofa Company on Gogglebox that I see so much but find it entirely that would be taking us back to the original days of soaps which is of course a lot of advertising money will happen to know what shows it would happen, but I completely can see that it would happen because we already have Advertiser funded programming.

There's significant blending of how advertisers fund content on digital.

I think as long as you have really clear bound.

For consumers so that they understand what is advertising promotion and what is an and how things are funded that has to be clear right.

Just like when we all reading magazines and one can easily get confused between what's a promotion? What is it mean? Why not? We are a business.

That is very successful because of advertisers you know and we have that tremendous reach to consumers.

That's what advertisers spend money with us because television bills those brands long-term brand value is built by television advertising lawsuits were the first episode of the first which is your new sci-fi co commission with us streaming Hulu and there's a futuristic Range Rover which featured prominently the production companies done a deal with Jaguar Land Rover to get their kind of show but I presume your money has changed her so just Channel 4 get a cut.

Do you know in that specific instance? I don't know anything about that specific instance IMO but I'm really happy to follow it up.

Would you be glad he did get everything you think I'm always about getting cut of whatever I can as long as it stands.

I got to find every way to make money.

I can we were broadcaster who doesn't speak to make any profit.

We just put it all back into programming, how much?

Traditional platforms 15% coming from digital you know we've got tremendous growth in the video-on-demand the digital side of the business and that's particularly because young people's propensity to view on all 4 on our digital platform is much higher than all the people so we see that growth and that transfer how much more perhaps another broadcasters, do it happen is happening to us faster.

I will talk about something we have to come back to you on the media show which is who is in the media data channels credit you invited Sam Friedman and LSE academic in to do an audit of your staff and he concluded that channel 4 is in effect Britain's pushiest broadcaster with just 9% of staff coming for working class backgrounds massive issue right across the industry including the BBC of course.

What have you personally done to address that my first of all we publish really widely Sam Friedman to work so I thinking making change and complex there is the first is to be really honest and really open about what the statistics are then what the issues are.

And then how you can tackle it, so Sam's work is really interesting cos what it shows is not a surprise that there is a lack of people whose parents were over a professional or an intermediate professional class within the media what I think is more interesting is why that is so three sets of reasons one is to get into our industry you have long periods when you're starting off.

Why you feel like you in between things so you have to have rich enough parents to be able to fall back on someone else the second thing is that you probably have to come to London again.

You have to have enough money to be able to that all be from a family where that is considered aspirational possible both of those things we hope to really happened by moving more people outside of London the third thing.

I think is much more worrying and not as obvious and it's the most fascinating thing to come out of the study that there exists in our industry probably another Industries a set of social codes, which are quite knowing and quite ways of behaving which if you are not part of the more you didn't.

Roll up with them for the people that did they seem like there in a club already even if they don't know each other and for the people that haven't got those social ways of dressing more of speaking or of knowing about things they seemed like such Henry Purcell food to do them that you think I can't even do it.

I won't bother I hope that things are changing Q3 global responsibility marketing and communication strategies your industry price of return to one thought about the unstereotype Esau because I think it's good example that and then I'll briefly cousin got a minute absolutely just to say that I took her about the poem the unstereotype alliance which we co-chair along with un women United Nations women as what goes 35 companies so from the W3 eon.com the advertisers who do the googles the Facebook for Twitter's ourselves Unilever 35 global companies unstereotype Alliance is is committed to unshare typing advertising with me some really good progress as want to reassure people what you think about the industry interviews committed to take that that on.

What does mean there is a need to go further into diversity and you'll either we knew we have a good on gender diversity was a 50/50 board 50/50 nearly out on management as a global business course have people from all different countries when you get creative industry it still tends to be that this senior executive creatives are men and so I think we need to tackle that as industry-level because we're not going to get that balancer diversity without a having a balance of diversity in the people who work in them soon hear the word oversee very briefly 26.

Why is diversity good thing what you can take a group of the same people and teaching to think diversity and creatively we could take a group of diverse people and get them something even more so is it if you want have innovation if you would have true creativity start with people with different points of View if you start with lots of people who are the same thinking the same you're going to get the same solution so diversity is there is both a moral issue, but it's economic issue as well it dry straighteners.

That's very nice night.

I was 23.

Thank you very much for the offer coming in Alex nice to see a match ban from Channel 4.

You kind of course download this shows a podcast BBC sounds is where you find it just look online for the media podcast maybe typing BBC sounds as well and it's described you won't regret it.

Thanks for being with us.

We're back at the same time next week.

Thanks for listening and goodbye.


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