It may have been inevitable, with Channel 4 having chosen to pull its 4iP digital investment activities more closely in to its new online structure = 4iP’s head Tom Loosemore is leaving the company.
Loosemore has been a long-time public-service media digital thinker. Having led development of “2.0″ strategy for the BBC, he joined Ofcom in 2007 to develop the idea of a parallel, public-funded Public Service Publisher for the internet, as the media regulator was considering.
But the “PSP” proposal wasn’t taken forward and Loosemore joined Channel 4 in 2008, to lead 4iP (effectively, the PSP by another name and under different ownership), a fund which C4 which put £20 million toward, seeking match-funders to invest grassroots digital media projects through both some equity fundings and a kind of commissioning funding.
4iP has taken risks and helped a good few independent projects get off the ground or farther, but has generated few, if any, successful businesses, and it was always likely Channel 4, facing its own big funding shortfall, could reign it in. Loosemore had also been off from 4iP with back problems. Commissioner Dan Heaf, who funded Audioboo, recently returned to BBC Worldwide.
Loosemore writes on his blog…
“The upsides? A truly, truly, fantastic team. The excitement of doing risky new stuff. And the joy of working with so many wonderful small companies. Thank you all.
“The downsides? Pretty much as Dan Heaf described, I’m afraid. No-one could ever agree what 4iP was for, a failure for which I must take some responsibility.”
The market for innovative thinking about digital space remains strong, however