Channel 4 has selected four production companies who will create brand-new digital content aimed at 13-16 year-olds for its Teens strand, to be shared across E4’s social platforms.
Following an open call-out last year for new, compelling and diverse digital content ideas, with teens at the heart of the brief, the production companies selected 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.
Navi Lamba, Digital Commissioner 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 Teens content is expected to land across 2021.
The production companies selected are:
The Corner Shop's content for The Teens strand will be led by Sindha Agha, an Emmy-nominated director and writer with a reputation for creating viral digital pieces with distinct and vibrant visuals. The content will be overseen by Cornershop TV MD, Anna Hashmi and Channel 4 Comedy Commissioning Executive, Laura Riseam.
For the Teens strand, The Corner Shop will produce a scripted comedy anthology series that hopes to tackle the trials and tribulations of adolescence and aim to give real teens their first co-writing credit with a collection of diary-style confessional short films.
Sindha 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."
Based in Leeds and Manchester, True North has a strong track record of producing returning series for Teens, with over a hundred hours of programmes, including ratings hits 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. O’Sullivan’s credits include Teen Mom UK for MTV, The Lie Detective for C4 and “Living the Dream” a short form reality series for MTV International.
Their focus for this slate is on a new generation of factual entertainment formats, where digital and traditional content collide. From competitive challenges, confessionals and celebrity interviews, to transformation and talent. The themes aim to strike a chord with the target audience, but will also have universal appeal, lending themselves to shared viewing and sharing on social media.
Fiona O’Sullivan, Creative Director at True North 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 relentless focus on young audiences, with half of its work spanning short form social content.
The Connected Set is the creative force behind Channel 4’s three-time Broadcast Digital Award nominated online comedy and animation channel Mashed, which has passed 2.5 million subscribers and 1 billion cross-platform views, as well as launching verticals on Facebook and Snapchat Discover.
The Connected Set's vision for the Teens strand will see it producing a mixture of high volume short form and mid form fact-ent formats. These will dig into topics like 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 said "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."
Launched in 2017, VICE Studios is the global production division within VICE Media Group, delivering premium original programming across documentary, scripted and film. As part of the world’s largest independent youth media company, VICE Studios are experts in creating content that resonates with youth audiences globally.
Fronted by a diverse range of voices and talents, 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. The original productions will speak to subjects young people care about - from crashing University parties to job hunting, starting a new business, sex, relationships, money and health - in an entertaining and engaging way.
Yonni Usiskin, Creative Director at VICE Studios UK, said: "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."