What happens when complexity meets creativity?

Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster unlike any other. Publicly owned but commercially funded, it has a parliament-agreed remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its role is to champion innovation in TV, film and digital – nurturing and growing new ideas, formats, views and voices, faces, talent, audiences and production companies.


As a unique organisation, Channel 4 needed a uniquely creative approach to the production of its annual report.

In addition to publishing financial accounts, the report needed to explain the channel’s extraordinary remit and value. It also had to prove that this remit was being fulfilled – not only through a comprehensive metrics section, but through an engaging and inspiring narrative.

Emperor was asked to produce a distinctive print-based report, along with an accompanying website that reflected Channel 4’s innovative online presence.

We were tasked with sharing the organisation’s story in a digestible, accurate and attractive way while ensuring a potentially complex project management process was as streamlined as possible.

How do you support a small team to deliver a distinctive message, while managing the different expectations of many stakeholders?


By taking the time to understand the way Channel 4 works, we became a trusted part of the core project team.

As such, we were able to negotiate the intricacies of this distinctive organisation, and work honestly with teams to resolve any issues and challenges. This close partnership allowed us to be creative together, while dealing effectively with practical considerations.

For the printed report, we created a templated print design that allowed for easy changes to copy and images. We took care to put a flexible schedule in place, ensuring that a dedicated artworker’s time could be used efficiently.

We made certain that a designer was on hand at any time to discuss any significant changes. Not least, by using the channel’s new ‘All 4’ branding from the outset, we ensured designs did not change throughout the process.

After some research, we decided on the format of the online annual report. An easy-to-navigate, one page scrolling site was the most cost, time and outcome-effective solution.

Little or no additional content was required from Channel 4’s Comms Manager. We ensured that a dedicated digital project manager was in place, working closely with the print team to deal with any changes quickly. Additionally, we employed strict sign-off stages to keep the project on track.


I’ve been very impressed with the smooth running of the whole thing, which is a credit to all of you at Emperor. It’s great work, and all your efforts right through the process are very much appreciated. Well done – and thanks.

- SOPHIE JONES / Head of Corporate Relations, Channel 4

The nature of Channel 4 places it under scrutiny. Part of the purpose of its annual report is to prove the channel’s worth in remaining as a public company – not just through the programming they make, but the role they serve in the wider media economy. By understanding the intricacy, importance and length of this project, we succeeded in delivering everything we promised smoothly – helping to ensure that the channel can continue to deliver its remit with confidence.


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