Thursday, November 15, 2007

C4 looks to outsource operations


UK pubcaster Channel 4 is looking to outsource a range of its broadcast and production services to Red Bee Media.

The proposal affects more than 100 staff in the network's broadcast engineering and transmission teams, as well as post-production, library services and on-air graphics, in C4's operations and 124 Facilities divisions.

It would also deliver annual savings of 10-15% on the channel's current operations budget.

The deal is aimed at giving C4 access to flexible, purpose-built facilities, with staff working in the affected areas expected to transfer from its headquarters in London's Horseferry Road to Red Bee Media's broadcast centre in White City over 12 months from the second quarter next year.

Those working in post-production and on-air graphics will remain at Horseferry Road, in Red Bee Media’s employment.

And under the new contract, Red Bee will also make a significant capital investment in new state-of-the-art facilities at White City.

The proposal is subject to contract completion as well as consultation with staff over how their terms and conditions of employment will be affected.

C4's group finance director Anne Bulford said the board decided there were "significant" benefits to be made after its extensive review of the service.

"Making our unique public service content available across new digital platforms is placing considerable financial and technological demands on the channel," she said. "Outsourcing these functions will allow us to tap into the more considerable and flexible resources of a big, specialist provider and help us stay competitive in the face of rapid technological change."

Red Bee Media's CEO Pam Masters said the company would welcome C4's staff, having been part of the original C4 team and instrumental in setting up the channel 25 years ago.