YouGov survey reveals Channel 4 as ‘best broadcaster experience’ for indies


  • YouGov survey reveals indies rate Channel 4 best broadcaster experience
  • Channel 4 Indie Survey shows improved feedback year on year

A YouGov survey has shown indies rate Channel 4 as the best broadcaster to work with.

The results of the Channel 4 Indie Survey, undertaken by YouGov, reflected the effort and work the broadcaster has put into further improving its dealings with production companies in 2021.

The survey, which received more than 100 responses, also showed that Channel 4 has consistently improved in its dealings with indies since 2019.

Channel 4 received the highest score from indies for the overall experience of working with a broadcaster or content provider. More than two thirds of respondents (68%) gave Channel 4 a score between 7-10 out of ten, up more than 20% on the previous survey’s results.

And it revealed that Channel 4 is making an impact where it really matters – with smaller, independent production companies. Seventy-four per cent of respondents were independent rather than being part of a group and more than half had a turnover of less than £5m. Nearly half, 46%, had their head office outside of London.

Speaking on the eve of Channel 4’s unscripted indie briefings, Emma Hardy, Director of Commissioning Operations, said: “We’ll take valuable learnings from the survey results but to have seen consistent progress over the past two years shows we are moving in the right direction and speaks volumes about the changes we’ve introduced and the hard work of the commissioning teams who have made huge efforts to improve the experience for indies when dealing with Channel 4.

“It’s particularly pleasing that the majority of responses are from smaller, independent production companies which are exactly the types of businesses Channel 4 should be nurturing. “

Nearly three quarters of responses (74%) came from the most senior people in the business at CEO, Managing Director or Creative Director level.

Since appointing Rebecca Thompson as Head of Indie Relations, Channel 4 has implemented a wide range of changes to improve its dealing with production companies.

These include:

  • Programme performance reports so indies can see how their new shows perform
  • Indie Relations surgeries where indies meet with Rebecca to find out about working with Channel 4
  • Improvements to the internal commissioning process, including changes to terminology for greater clarity
  • Updated information about commissioning priorities and Channel policies on the 4Producers website
  • An annual calendar of briefing events, and improved signposting, to help indies to pitch the right ideas
  • 4Casts – a series of free and accessible online events for indies
  • Expansion of indie database to ensure we’re connecting with the whole sector
  • A bi-monthly newsletter to keep indies up to date with new briefs, opportunities and Commissioning Editors
  • Enhancements to the Emerging Indie Fund scheme, including online sessions and business development support
  • Kick off emails to give commissioned indies clearer information about the commissioning process

Rebecca said: “We’ve taken significant steps to improve how we do business with indies and it’s fantastic to see that this is already having such a positive impact on indies’ overall experience of working with Channel 4. We’ll be introducing more measures this year to improve our communications and systems and keep up this momentum.”

Some of the changes planned for 2022 include:

  • Improvements to the 4Producers website as the indies’ go-to portal for information and news
  • An information pack for new suppliers, outlining key information about working with the channel
  • A package of training for Channel 4’s Commissioning Department, including a bespoke starter pack for new commissioners
  • New internal systems and processes aimed at supporting the faster turnaround of decision-making
  • Additional training and development schemes to support indies at different stages across the UK

Notes to Editors

  • 370 suppliers were contacted in December 2021 inviting them to take part in an online survey, hosted by YouGov, to give feedback on the Channel 4 commissioning team.
  • 118 production companies took part in the survey (down from 190 in March 21 and 140 in Dec 2019) with 112 (vs. 161 in March 21 and 122 in Dec 2019) stating they had worked with Channel 4 in the past year.
  • Only one person from each company took part, with 71% being either a CEO, Managing Director or Creative Director.
  • This wave includes Disney+, YouTube and TikTok for the first time, and so there is no comparative data for these broadcasters.
  • This wave includes routing respondents to questions and feedback on Channel 4 genre commissioning.  Each respondent could choose up to TWO genres.  Samples for some genres are, therefore, very small so have either been deleted or should be treated with extreme caution.
  • 74% of companies that responded were independent rather than being part of a group.
  • 54% have their head office in London.
  • 53% have an approx. annual UK turnover less than £5m.