Channel 4 hires MTV's Matt Risley to head digital unit based in Leeds

Matt Ford joins to lead branded entertainment creation within division.

Channel 4: Risley and Ford
Channel 4: Risley and Ford

Channel 4 has appointed Matt Risley as head of its new Digital Content Unit, which will be based at the broadcaster's new national headquarters in Leeds that officially launches next month.

Risley, currently digital director at MTV, will lead the creative and operational strategy for the DCU, Channel 4’s new in-house digital agency, which will commission and produce digital content for social and digital platforms as part of the broadcaster’s digital acceleration strategy.

He will start in December and report to Zaid Al-Qassab, who joined Channel 4 this month as chief marketing officer. 

Risley joined MTV in 2014 as international entertainment editor, becoming digital director in 2016. He previously held roles at Sky and Total Film, as well as working as a freelance journalist and producer. 

Al-Qassab said: "Matt has a proven track record in delivering successful and award-winning social digital content for young audiences and possesses a strong commercial acumen. His outstanding strategic and creative leadership will be critical as we build the DCU into a best-in-class internal digital agency."

Meanwhile, 4Sales will establish a commercial division within the DCU and Channel 4 has appointed Matt Ford, former commercial director of Unilad, to lead the division. 

The commercial team will work with brands to provide access to Channel 4 talent. A spokeswoman said it would develop social-first branded entertainment that would compete with the likes of Joe Media, LadBible, Vice and Jungle Creations.

Ford, who starts this month, said: "The DCU will be creating content specifically for Channel 4’s social platforms, which will mean more original, branded and programme content distributed to a young audience in their stories and news feeds. 

"There is a great opportunity for advertisers to create premium branded entertainment that lives on social and I’m looking forward to making some amazing content."

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