The acquisition of a stake in Renowned Films marks the sixth recent investment in a UK indie by public service broadcaster Channel 4. Via its £20M growth fund, the network has taken a minority share of the documentary and factual producer. Co-founded by BBC radio host Duane Jones along with Max Welch and Tim Withers in 2012, the indie aims to disrupt traditional broadcast media by creating innovative content directed at young audiences using emerging technology and platforms.
Renowned’s credits include F2 Kicks Off, which followed a pair of soccer freestylers on a stunt journey across the capital and was the first major commission by nascent local channel London Live. It remains the highest-rated series for the channel to date and has been licensed to over 14 territories. Other credits include behind-the-scenes soccer series Winner’s Circle for Sky; branded content series FCUK; and content for online music platform Vevo featuring interviews with top music stars.
The company is currently in development on new series projects for BBC Three, ITV, MTV, 4Music and National Geographic and Discovery in the U.S.
Channel 4’s growth fund was launched in 2014 to support small- to medium-sized UK creative companies by providing access to development funding outside of the normal commissioning cycle. It has steadily increased its investments in indie producers ever since making a splashy announcement at the Edinburgh TV Festival last year. At the time, the network unveiled investments in Arrow Media, Lightbox, Popkorn and True North, and later followed that up with a minority stake in Eleven Film.
The group has so far demonstrated a fondness for factual and documentary producers, although Eleven also specializes in drama and comedy. Channel 4 intends to make further investments throughout the year.