John Gisby, Channel 4’s head of new media, reveals more about their £50 million new media fund – 4IP. What he says about the challenges ‘old media’ faces from ‘new media’ makes a great deal of sense, however, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on the public service aspects of the fund (and therefore any venture it backs) which makes me wonder whether it’s just part of a broader initiative to ensure Channel 4 retain their public service remit and funding, something that was seriously questioned in the wake of the Celebrity Big Brother racism row. Is this just a tactic to fulfil their public service commitment without having to put any of that kind of stuff on the TV?
Also, £50 million is a lot of money and though it only takes a couple of successes to recoup, it’s hard to see public service sites delivering the audiences for a commercial return on investment.
Of course, I don’t know anything more than the broadest details and it would be a mistake to prejudge it on commercial terms. Channel 4 are, after all, looking to fund innovative digital projects, and that has to be welcomed.
If you want to know more, then get your slightly edgy yet still socially aware thinking caps on and head down to Mashed on June 21-22, where Channel 4 will be revealing more about 4IP.