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Channel 4 buys into Barcroft

Sam BarcroftChannel 4 has bought a stake in multiplatform content company Barcroft.

The UK broadcaster has set up a £20 million (US$28.5 million) Growth Fund to invest in UK content companies and has bought into several indies.

This is the first Growth Fund investment in a company that has an extensive presence in the digital space and will, public broadcaster Channel 4 said, ‘help develop the UK’s influence in the global digital market’.

Barcroft has a range of popular YouTube and OTT channels, and also makes branded content and linear TV shows. It distributes photos, clips and programmes internationally.

Its linear TV offerings include The Outsiders for MTV, Body Bizarre for TLC and Inside The KKK for its new shareholder Channel 4.

Channel 4’s sales director, Jonathan Allan, will represent the broadcaster on the Barcroft board.

David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4 said: “Barcroft’s ability to connect with younger audiences globally, and their work with different formats, platforms and brands, aligns with our own commercial growth and we look forward to sharing our expertise to help Barcroft grow and to develop 4’s wider digital strategy.”

Sam Barcoft (pictured), CEO of Barcroft Holdings said: “The time is now right to build out our content and distribution offering, particularly in television production and the branded content space through Barcroft Plus.

“For many years Channel 4 has proven that successful disruption at scale and constant innovation are its core strengths, which makes them the perfect partner for us.”

Channel 4 would not quantify the size of its equity stake in Barcroft, but it is understood to be in line with its other investments, which are up to 25%.

The broadcaster’s £20 million fund was set up in 2014, with the cash to be invested over three years. After the latest investment, just under half of the total is left, Channel 4 told TBI.