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Press

Channel 4 tops Broadcast's indie poll with best ever rating

This is getting silly. We're beginning to suspect that we're living in some sort of Derren Brown show where nothing is what it seems. I mean, can a week really be this good? First, we announced that we'd won the Grand National (not literally, though the way our luck is at the moment, we'd only have to enter) and the rest of racing's crown jewels. Then we cleaned up at the RTS awards like a bottle of bleach. And now, the enormous bit of thick butter icing on this moist televisual sponge - we've been named the best customer in Broadcast's survey of independent production companies. It's the first time Channel 4 has topped the poll in six years.

The share of indies voting Channel 4 as best broadcaster has risen to its highest ever level of 35% - a huge jump from the 25.7% last year. We've also recorded the biggest ever margin over the BBC, with Channel 4's 35% compared to 21% for the BBC. The last time Channel 4 was named top broadcaster was in 2006, with 25% of the vote.

Jay Hunt clambered out of her bath of Dom Perignon for a brief moment to comment: "I said when I arrived I wanted Channel 4 to be the best place for indies to do business and I am thrilled there are signs of real progress. We have worked hard over the past year to diversify our supply base and to meet a far wider range of indies. In 2011 we worked with 400 companies, twice as many as in 2010 and we've had face to face meetings with (over) 300 indies all around the country. We're going to keep putting the same level of energy into making Channel 4 feel the natural home for great writers, producers and creatives."

Respondents were impressed by Jay Hunt's "openness" in her attempts to reach out to new suppliers. "There's been a real change in leadership and accessibility to the commissioners," said one producer. "This gives an opportunity to producers that had previously struggled to get a foot in the door."

This follows the launch of Jay Hunt's Independent Producers' Access Plan last February, which promised to offer greater access to its commissioning teams and increase diversity of supply. The Alpha Fund, launched by David Abraham last January, also seeks to fund the work of smaller companies in creative communities across the UK.

Channel 4's extraordinary week of success looks set to continue tomorrow, when the broadcaster expects to be named Hairdresser of the Year, best young footballer, and feature on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

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