Channel 4 Closing Digital Investment Arm
“We’re not pulling the plug on anything” asserts director of creative diversity as 4iP fund for projects including games is shut down.
Launched in 2008 with a £20 million fund for digital projects, 4iP was intended to co-invest with other companies over a period of three years in a broad spectrum of ventures proposed by the public.
The 4iP division will see its staff integrated into one department as a result of restructuring. It is not yet known whether there will be redundancies.
4iP’s digital commissioner Daniel Heaf called in 2009 for proposals of “good-for-you-games” that “can change how we live and understand real world problems”. Under Heaf, projects such as the online learning network School Of Everything were created. Heaf left 4iP in June for a role as digital director at the BBC.
Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, says, “The new structure of ‘Online’ will simplify the digital side of Channel 4. One of the main criticisms of the previous regime was that the broadcaster’s digital innovation commissioning activities and investment, was very scattered across five departments and four different floors, and was incoherent.”
The new department will cover online products, cross-platform commissioning, and the education department. It has been headed up by Richard Davidson-Houston since July. Davidson-Houston previously worked as product manager for MSN at Microsoft.
One of 4iP’s projects was the iPhone App Audioboo which allows users to post and share sound files on a website. In a Guardian interview Audioboo founder Mark Rock said: “4iP fitted with Channel 4′s brand when they were looking to be a leader in digital development, but it conflicted with the traditional TV priorities at C4 and arguably spread its net too wide. It had too many projects and not enough focus on the most important of those."
The Guardian reports that it is believed 60 per cent of the fund was spent by 4iP. It is unknown how the remainder will be redistributed.
Channel 4 says it will continue to honour partnerships already set in place before the closure