Four prodcos to produce E4 teen content

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E4 logo Channel 4 has selected four production companies to produce new online content for 13-16 year-olds to run across E4 social platforms. 

Following an open call last year for new and diverse digital content ideas, with teens at the heart of the brief, the chosen companies will be giving a platform to fresh, unheard voices from across the country, with at least 50% of the content produced by BAME and nations and regions-led companies.

The initiative will be overseen by head of youth and digital, Karl Warner and head of entertainment, Phil Harris, and managed by digital commissioner, Navi Lamba.

Lamba said: “Engaging young people and allowing for the stories that impact their lives be heard is at the heart of our work and of this strand. The companies we are working with are already developing exciting propositions that we hope will resonate with teens in the UK.”

The four production companies are: 

Cornershop TV. Sindha Agha will be leading Cornershop’s Teens Strand content, which will take the form of a scripted comedy anthology series exploring the trials and tribulations of adolescence. It also aims to give real teens their first co-writing credit with a collection of diary-style confessional short films. 

Agha said: “I'm so thrilled to be working with these talented young writers to create a series that speaks to the teenage experience right from the eye of the storm and which I hope will be cathartic and relatable for people of all ages." 

True North. Based in Leeds and Manchester, True North has experience producing returning series for teens, with programmes such as Teen Mom UK and Teen Mom UK: Young and Pregnant for MTV.

True North’s Teens content will be executive produced by Fiona O’Sullivan, creative director, True North. Its brief will focus on new factual entertainment formats, where digital and traditional content collide, including competitive challenges, confessionals and celebrity interviews. 

O’Sullivan said: “We had tremendous fun developing these formats and have the utmost respect for this demographic. With a lot of competing demands for attention on their time, we realise the bar is very high to attract and retain this audience, but we believe our ideas will do just that.”

The Connected Set. Shortlisted for Small Indie of the Year 2020 at the Edinburgh TV Awards, The Connected Set is an independent producer with a focus on young audiences, with half its work spanning short form social content. 

The Connected Set is the creative force behind Channel 4’s online comedy and animation channel Mashed. The company’s offering for the Teens Strand will see it producing a mixture of high-volume short form and mid form fact-ent formats. These will cover topics such as how to unwind, how to navigate the world of work, and consumer affairs, through to outright silly comedic formats and animations. 

Jason Mitchell, creative director at The Connected Set, commented: "We are hugely excited to create a new era of digitally-distributed, broadly-accessible, fun factual and entertainment formats designed to help teens understand, decode and improve the wider world and adult life."

VICE Studios. Fronted by a diverse range of voices, VICE Studios will produce an eclectic mix of short-form series for the Teens Strand, that will explore topics that are particularly pertinent to young people today, from crashing university parties to job hunting, starting a new business, sex, relationships, money and health. 

Creative director at VICE Studios UK, Yonni Usiskin, remarked: "We are excited at the opportunity to produce content for this new strand in Channel 4's digital content offering by tapping into VICE Studios' expertise in engaging young people through authentic formats and fresh talent. We look forward to working with them to deliver an eclectic mix of shows, fronted by a selection of new, diverse and bold voices while tackling issues pertinent to today's youth audiences."

The Teens content is expected to land across 2021.