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Channel 4 looking to join BBC, ITV streaming venture, boost non-London content

Channel 4 (UK) is interested in joining the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV PLC's joint venture for the BritBox streaming service in the U.K., and is also seeking to grow its content initiatives outside London.

In a speech during the Media & Telecoms 2019 & Beyond conference, CEO Alex Mahon said Channel 4 is having "positive and constructive discussions with ITV and the BBC" to join the video-on-demand venture, which is intended to launch in the second half.

Channel 4 is also pooling its reach with European broadcasters such as ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Mediaset SpA and TF1 Group SA.

The broadcaster is also planning to augment its content commissioning investment outside London to about 50%, representing about £250 million of extra investment that could support about 3,000 jobs. The decision to invest outside London comes as the broadcaster is set to open its new headquarters in Leeds and new creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow.

Channel 4's Leeds headquarters will house its new digital creative unit, which will focus on commissioning and producing content for social and digital platforms. The same unit will also launch 4Real, "a new factual strand aimed at a young audience," Mahon said.