Channel 4 completes restructure of comms

Channel 4 has completed its in-house PR restructure - and pledged that spending on external agencies will rise during 2003.

Head of press and publicity Matt Baker confirmed this week that his department had shrunk by around a quarter, to 30 staff, as part of channel-wide cut-backs.

Baker said a 'centralisation' of C4's publicity departments had taken place and that the main press office would operate on a 'cross-platform' basis.

Baker has set up four 'small, consumer' teams - entertainment, factual, factual entertainment and drama/film - with each section headed by group publicity managers.

Respectively, these are Sarah Booth, Mags Patten and Loretta de Souza, with recruitment set to start this week for a drama/film group publicity manager.

In respect of external PR agencies, Baker said: 'In the past couple of years the amount we have spent on agencies has declined.

'However, this year it may increase a little - we have a lot of new dramas, for which we tend to do PR out of house,' added Baker, who was promoted to head of press and publicity in January 2000.

Lysette Cohen has been promoted from senior publicity manager to the newly created role of chief press officer.

Alan McLaughlin retains his role as publicity manager but his responsibilities have shifted from 'programmes work' to handling PR for 4 Ventures, which includes FilmFour, E4, C4 Interactive and 4 Learning.

Last week Channel 4 hired Borkowski PR to promote 40, a three-part drama to air in the spring (PRWeek, 7 February).

Channel 4 caused a storm of publicity in November last year when it screened footage of the first public autopsy - by Professor Gunther von Hagens - to take place in Britain for more than 150 years.

One of C4's hits so far this year has been Wife Swap, a confrontational 'reality TV' show in which women switch husbands and families.

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