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Ian Katz Speaks at the Edinburgh TV Festival

As this year's Edinburgh TV Festival came to an end, the closing session was Ian Katz's first controller session as Director of Programmes for Channel 4 and was hosted by Robert Peston.


Speaking at this year's Edinburgh TV Festival when asked by Peston what he brings to the role, Katz responded that he has a passion for creating mischief, starting arguments, telling difficult stories and breaking new talent. Traits he believes are at the heart of Channel 4.


Confessing to being a "fanboy" of the channel he now looks after, he was asked to pick his favourite all-time TV shows and listed The Tube, GBH, A Very British Coup and Brass Eye, all on Channel 4.


Outside of Channel 4 he's most jealous of ITV's The Real Full Monty and the three dramas he's really enjoyed recently are Keeping Faith on BBC One, Unforgotten on ITV and Save Me on Sky Atlantic.


The biggest challenge he faces is that young viewers are moving to digital and wants to measure not just overnights, but the amount of time they spend with Channel 4, be that linear, On Demand or even on social media. But the fact that Channel 4's share is 5% up on young viewers is really encouraging.


Success for Katz is that Channel 4 matters, and they talk about what was on it "Channel 4 has put waves in the pond every week and every month". He goes on to describe the channel as having a "genuine diversity of voice, background and subject" and that they "run towards danger".


His plans for All4 involve "making it better" and "turbo charging" its growth but also "looking carefully at what's on linear that works He revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? has become their first show to be watched more on All4 than it was on linear. And explained how All4 currently accounts for 10% of all viewing.


Would he have bid for The Great British Bake Off? "Absolutely" he answered before describing it as an "incredibly bold decision" and grateful to Jay Hunt for bidding for that show.


Speaking about the mis-conception that The End of The F***ing World is a Netflix show, rather than Channel 4. he explained that people thinking that really "bugs" him. "It's a Channel 4 show and next time we'll do it differently". Series 2 will run weekly on linear and it will be a much longer time before it lands on Netflix. Adding that the first series remains All4's most successful boxset ever after just the first episode aired on Channel 4.


The wake-up call Katz felt after Michaela Coel's McTaggart lecture was the difference between representation and genuine inclusion. Admitting to subtle behaviours that make "misfits" as Coel calls them, feel comfortable. He understands that Channel 4 needs to do much better to support these individuals and is committed to making that better. Moving substantially out of London he feels will help this as it will create new jobs.


He picked out Derry Girls and Ackley Bridge as examples of a shows which have resonated with audiences who have not previously seen their experiences on screen.


Married to a Paedophile is an upcoming Channel 4 which he is incredibly proud of and one he feels other broadcasters have shied away from.


We were also treated to a clip from a new 9pm show called Spying on my Family which looks fantastic and feels like the new Gogglebox.


The series follows one British family who have volunteered to give up privacy for a week, using cutting-edge technology that gives them complete access to each other’s day-to-day lives.

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