Chief executive David Abraham revealed that the company would use £20 million from its growth fund to take minority stakes in Arrow Media, Light box, Popkorn and True North to, he said, "aid the growth and development of these British creative businesses".
Channel 4 launched its growth fund of the UK's buoyant independent sector by providing access to funding for small to medium-sized creative companies. Each investment was considered to evaluate whether there was a clear growth opportunity and its value to the wider UK creative industry, additionally assessed for its commercial potential. All commercial returns derived from these investments will be used to bolster the corporation's investment in original content and new companies.
Arrow Media operates in the UK, US and other international territories and specialises in creating factual entertainment content across TV, film and digital media. Light box focuses on creating non-fiction programming in the UK and the US and has been prolific in the production of theatrical feature documentaries. Popkorn specialises in producing factual documentaries and digital branded content while Yorkshire's True North has regional roots and a portfolio spanning across documentaries, factual and factual entertainment.
The UK's fourth largest broadcaster says that it has had already a strong response from its programme. "This is a significant moment for Channel 4 as we help support talented creative companies with our Growth Fund investments," Abraham explained. "I'm delighted that we've been able to invest in four diverse British independent producers and I hope both Channel 4 and the wider industry will benefit from their future success. This is just the start and we will be announcing more deals over the course of the next year."
Laura Franses, Channel 4's head of fund, who is overseeing the investment programme, added: "It was incredible to be on the front line of this pioneering initiative and see how well the growth fund was received by the indie community. We had a difficult task to narrow the investments down but are thrilled to have found companies that are both creatively and commercially dynamic and fit together to form an exciting portfolio of investments."