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New talent and original ideas to benefit from 4iP.

According to Ofcom people now spend more than 12 hours a week online, three-quarters of which is at home.

Twenty per cent of people identify the internet as the communications service they would find it most hard to live without And the amount of time that 16-24-year-olds spend online at home has increased by over 50 per cent in the last two years alone.

These major changes in the way people access the media prompted Channel 4 to announce 4iP as part of its Next on 4 vision statement in March this year.

"4iP is an innovation fund to stimulate public service digital media (beyond television) across theUK.

"In plain English, thatmeans supporting great ideas for websites, games and mobile services which help people improve their lives,"

Channel 4 said on its 4iP website.

Channel 4 is putting pounds 20 million in the 4iP fund nationally and is working on attracting equivalent funding commitments from partner organisations of up to pounds 50 million. As well as Birmingham, Yorkshire and Scotland have also been chosen as 4iP hubs.

In the Midlands, Channel 4 is partnering with co-investor AdvantageWest Midlands and screen agency ScreenWM, which is managing the fund.

ScreenWMchief executive officer Suzie Norton said: "4iP is undoubtedly the biggest thing to happen to the UK media industry for many years. It really is the number one project on at the moment.

It is looking for groundbreaking innovative projects with the potential to revolutionise the way companies in the region work and deliver content.

"We are extremely proud that the West Midlands was selected as one of just three regions to host 4ip and the first to launch"

Channel 4 is looking for projects which reflect its purposes of nurturing new talent and original ideas, championing alternative voices and fresh perspectives, challenging people to see the world differently and inspiring change in people's lives.

4iP also wants to keep in line with Channel 4's values of "pushing limits,making trouble and inspiring change". The fund, which is nowtaking proposals, will run for at least two years and West Midland companies will be able to apply for investment of between pounds 20,000 and pounds 1.5 million.

It will help launch both profitmaking as well as non-profit making initiatives and will sometimes take an equity stake in the companies it invests in.

Head of 4iP TomLoosemore cited website Patient Opinion as one example of the kind of projects 4iP is looking to invest in. Patient Opinion allows patients and carers to find out what other people think of hospitals, hospices and mental health services.People can access the site and share information on what happened to them or their family when they were ill and also come up with ideas on how NHS services can be improved.


4iP has outlined a few ideas which are of particular interest: Hidden gems - helping people discover stuff which could change their lives Digital democracy - new ways to let everyone keep an eye on money and power Amplifying voices - new ways to empower those communities that media could never previously reach Wise crowds - connecting people who need to know stuff with people who know it already Tools to make trouble - developing disruptive media tools, then putting them in the hands of people that need them most

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 20, 2008
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